BRIDGETON, N.J. (AP) — The attorney for a man accused of having killed two of three people slain during a birthday party in New Jersey earlier this year says the case against his client is entirely circumstantial.

Zedekiah Holmes, 21, of Millville, is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Kevin Elliot, 30, and Asia Hester, 25, in the May 22 gunfire at the Fairfield Township home. Holmes is the older brother of the third person killed, Brailyn Holmes, 19, of Millville; no one has been charged in her death.

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During Tuesday’s detention hearing, defense attorney John Morris challenged whether prosecutors had adequate evidence to support the charges, reported. Morris said no eyewitnesses appear to have implicated his client as having been involved and there has to be “at least a well-grounded suspicion” that he is the one to be charged.

Prosecutors said Holmes had been charged earlier with attempted murder in shots fired April 13 at someone standing in the driveway of another Fairfield home. Authorities said 11 of the 48 shell casings recovered after the May 22 shooting matched casings found at the scene of the earlier shooting.

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Superior Court Judge Robert Malestein found probable cause for the charges and noted that witnesses are often reluctant to step forward even in cases with hundreds of people present.

“Sometimes circumstantial evidence can be more persuasive in the minds of the jury than direct evidence,” he said.

Another person is charged with attempted murder and two others with weapons offenses, while five are charged with hindering or obstruction. Investigators have asked anyone who attended the event and may have cellphone footage from the party or the shooting to contact state police or Cumberland County prosecutors.

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