'Looking for trouble': Testimony from 3 teens points to Olivieri as South Philly shooter

Kristen Johanson
May 15, 2019 - 4:57 pm
2017 mug shot of Brandon Olivieri

Philadelphia Police Department

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Three teenagers from South Philadelphia testified Wednesday in the murder trial against Brandon Olivieri.  

The now 18-year-old Olivieri is accused of shooting and killing Caleer Miller and Salvatore DiNubile on Oct. 24, 2017 at 12th and Ritner streets, but he has denied being the shooter.

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The first witness, a 17-year-old who said he was friends with Olivieri at the time, told the jury Olivieri had a silver marble-handled .45 caliber gun in his waistband that night. The pair, along with Miller, "went looking for trouble."

The teen told jurors that in weeks prior to the shooting, Olivieri lost a fight with DiNubile, and friends in his circle wanted revenge.

The witness also said he saw the defendant approach DiNubile on that October evening and reach for his waistband. The witness said he ran "because he knew it wouldn’t be good."

Prosecutors played surveillance video of Olivieri and the 17-year-old witness running from the scene. They tried to match pictures of shoes they were wearing earlier in the day, when the group was walking prior to the incident.

They also went through a group Instagram direct message, which detectives believe led to the shooting. Olivieri, the witness and others in their circle were direct messaging on the social media app about the defendant wanting to "pop" everyone in a picture, which showed DiNubile and his friends.  

The witness also pointed to an Instagram picture of cat feces in a litter box, which he said referred to Olivieri wanting to "crap" all over the neighborhood where DiNubile lived.

Authorities have said DiNubile and Olivieri tussled over the gun, and the defendant shot a few times, striking both DiNubile and Miller in the hearts.

On re-direct however, defense attorney Bob Mozenter asked the teen point-blank:

"Did you kill Salvatore DiNubile?"

"No," he replied.  

"Did you kill Caleer Miller?"

"No."

Mozenter pulled the witness' testimony and statements to police, repeatedly asked the teen about lying. He asked him which of his statements were truthful and which were lies, and then asked the witness three different times if he was the real killer.

One of the more heart-wrenching witness testimonies was by a 15-year-old boy, who was 13 at the time of the shooting. He told jurors that he saw DiNubile struggle over the gun. He heard gunshots, then he ran to a nearby Starbucks and called his dad.  

The teen said he was terrified. His story closely matched what the 17-year-old witness had said earlier, as well as the testimony from DiNubile’s close friend on Tuesday.

Following the 15-year-old boy, a third teen — who said he was DiNubile’s best friend — said he was the one who fought Olivieri weeks prior, and he said DiNubile was there at the time.  

The third teen testified that he had hit Olivieri several times in the face, but Olivieri never fought back, which brought brief laughter from DiNubile supporters in court.

A Philadelphia medical examiner also testified about the fatal injuries to both Miller and DiNubile. The doctor said DiNubile had burn marks from gun powder residue, which typically happens when the muzzle of the gun is 2 feet or closer to the body. 

Relative from both the Miller and DiNubile families sobbed as the examiner showed photos of the fatal wounds.

The final witness of the day was a firearm expert, who is a longtime Philadelphia police officer. He said guns aren’t usually fired accidentally, and someone must pull the trigger for it to go off.  

He also went into an explanation about how bullets are fired, and about how one can tell what kind of gun was fired, based on forensic ballistic analysis of firearm cartridges.

A friend of Olivieri’s is expected to take the stand in Thursday morning.