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Murder trial underway in death of local star basketball player

OKLAHOMA CITY - More than three years after a star basketball player was shot in killed in Oklahoma City, a murder trial is finally underway.

Prince Augustine Ordu left the courtroom in a suit and tie on Wednesday.

He’s accused of directing a robbery in 2013 that killed Anthony Hartfield, Jr.

An all-state basketball player at U.S. Grant High School, Hartfield went on to play at Connors State College.

Police say he was staying at a relative’s house the night three burglars kicked in the front door with a military-style rifle and shot and killed him.

A cell phone was left behind by one of the robbers.

Police arrested three men a couple of months later.

Court records show a witness told detectives, “Price Ordu set up the robbery” and “was going to split the money with the others involved and use his share to bond himself out of jail.”

On Wednesday, an FBI agent testified about phone records as prosecutors claimed Ordu was running things from a jail phone.

Oklahoma County has a well-known problem with inmates using each other’s phone accounts.

“There is no valid voice recognition, so if somebody uses your pin and talks about crimes or makes admissions, there’s really no way of knowing if that’s their voice,” legal analyst David McKenzie said.

Prosecutors also allege Ordu used a cell phone in jail.

Just a few months ago, a nurse he was romantic with got caught sneaking in a phone to him.

While Ordu wasn’t at the home invasion, he’s charged with murder under Oklahoma’s felony murder doctrine.

The state will rely on two “snitches” to help prove their story.

“Those witnesses are always compromised because they receive deals from the State of Oklahoma for their testimony. You’ll find a lot of people, especially with criminal pasts, will say anything to get out of trouble,” McKenzie said.