Jamal Woods is accused of shooting four people inside TGI Fridays Restaurant in Huntsville in December of 2006. Tank Beavers and Thurston Turner died from their injuries.
WAFF-48 News Reporter Elizabeth Gentle will be keeping up with the proceedings live from the courtroom. Check back for updates.
May 14, 2009
The sentencing phase in Jamal Woods capital murder case was about to start. Family members of the victims were seated to the right of Judge Laura Jo Hamilton. The wife, two small sons, and mother of Woods were seated to the left. The courtroom was quiet as we wait for the judge to begin.
There was added security in the courtroom with deputies posted at the front and both entrance doors.
Odell Turner, father of Thurston Turner who was shot and killed inside TGI Friday's Restaurant, addressed the court.
"Thurston was a loving father, working man. He was someone who did not deserve to die. You woud never understand our loss. I urge you to take into consideration if it were your own child's life. Do you see how our hearts are broken? We will never understand how you did a nonsense situation over my son speaking to a relative. You will have a miserable life in prison. The flashbacks will appear. Thou shall not kill. December 17, 2006 I got my last hug from Thurston in my kitchen. He was our youngest son. I told him with a smile I won't ever forget it. He said momma you and dad taught us well. He didn't believe in violence. Gave his life to God at a early age. He loved life. His death put an impact on his families. He cannot attend basketball, football, birthday parties, family reunions, children's baptism. They can't be with him Father's Day. They can go to Limestone Memorial Garden to put flowers on his grave."
Tank Beavers cousin made this statement:
"In life we must deal with death. We dealt with murder. Tank was a loving kid. He had his life snatched away. I have to look at his famiy with the pain in their eyes and their hearts. He won't be back. All we have is memories and pictures. Your mom has your children. My grandmother has grieved herself into bad health, as the whole family. Our family is close knit. There is a piece of the puzzle that is missing. Your momma will have phone calls, pictures. We have a grave site of Tank. Think about it whle you are in prison. Think abut the lif that would have been had it not been snatched away."
Prosecutor Don Rizzardi addresses the court.
"On his good days, Jamal did nothing to contribute to the community. His adulterous self peddling drugs on the streets, paid no taxes. He stole, shot up a restaurant in a busy holiday season. Ninety-eight folks witnessed his murderous acts. He took peace from something as simple as a holiday dinner. That business had no fault that day. They lost 100,000 over a 3-month period because of Jamal's actions. Employees lost their jobs because they didn't feel safe."
"The coward hid afterwards. You should never forget their faces. They left friends and family to grieve. Tank Beavers, he stole that man's hopes and dreams. He took away from his parents and grandparents the chance to see him graduate college. They will never see that. The only sentence is death. We still believe that. We can't possibly fathom how Jamal Woods deserves any sentence other than death. We feel disgusted, frustrated, mad and cheated. We ask the maximum sentence. Twenty years for Tim Reliford, 99 years for Tory Rogers. We accept life without parole for Tank and Tory. We ask they run consecutive. plus 119 years based on the evidence."
"Woods' life is not worth the lives he took or damaged. We are stuck supporting him the rest of his life. There is no justice here. It cannot be. We take solace and comfort in knowing he will go to prison and run his mouth. We hope prison justice will be put on him regularaly. You are a nobody. Good riddance."
Jamal Woods then took the stand.
"Uh, first of all I want to offer my apology, whether you take it or not. I understand I have the privilege to call and write, but that's not a life. I hope time heals your wounds. I ask God to help you. You look at me like a bad person. You want me dead because I took life. I offer my condolences. I am sorry. I don't want anybody here to suffer. THe situation came out the wrong way. I wish you could have the joy again. I don't want you to be scared. Chose it or not."
After that, Judge Hamilton sentenced Woods to life in prison without the possibility of parole for capital murder. For the attempted murder of Tory Rogers, he was sentenced to 99 years in prison. For the assault of Tim Reliford, he was sentenced to 20 years. The sentences are consecutive. He was also fined $1,000 to give to a crime victims fund and to pay court appointed fees. Restitution to the victims' families will be an amount determined within 30 days. Woods now has 42 days to appeal his sentence.
May 13, 2009
Due to the death of a juror, the original jury has been dismissed and Jamal Woods will be sentenced to life in prison without parole on Thursday. Stay tuned throughout the day for Elizabeth's updates from the courtroom, as families of the victims make their statements during the (short) sentencing phase.
February 17, 2009
New developments: It looks like this portion of the trial has been postponed. One of the jurors can't make it to court this week. The judge said she should know more about a new date later in this week. So with that, there will be no court until the judge sets a new date.
Welcome back! We are preparing for the start of the second phase of the Jamal Woods capital murder trial. The court just came to order. Defense and prosecutors are taking up business with the judge out of earshot of the jury.
Jamal Woods is seated at the defense table. Today he's dressed in a red jail issued jumpsuit.
February 16, 2009
The second phase in the Jamal Woods capital murder trial begins Monday morning at 9. The same jury of 12 that found Woods guilty of capital murder, attempted murder and assault will decide if Woods will spend the rest of his life in prison or die by lethal injection.
I will be blogging the proceedings from start to end. Check back for updates!
February 13, 2009
Hello everyone! Sorry for not updating but not much going on right now. The jury began deliberations around 1:45 this afternoon. We are not sure at this point what will happen if they don't render a verdict by this evening. The judge is leaving it up to the jury whether they want to come back on Saturday or wait until Tuesday. Monday is Presidents Day so the courthouse is closed.
Stay tuned for more updates. We've got crews standing by and we'll bring you the very latest if anything breaks. Of course be sure to watch WAFF-48 News tonight at 5 and 6.
Happy Friday! Court is an hour late starting. Judge Hamilton is charging the jury.
'12 of you have been selected by the state and the defense to make a factual verdict. You must accept what I tell you to be the law, not what you think the law is. For a fair trial the system can only work on that way. I have no opinion in the facts of this case. The determination of the facts are yours and yours alone. You are authorizted to take into consideration of the testimony of all the witnesses. The defendant is presumed innocent until the 12 of you collectively that he is guilty beyond a resonable doubt. He has pled not guilty. The State of Alabama is bringing the charges, the defendant is denying the charges. So the state has the burden of proof."
The indictment charges Jamal Woods with capital murder, did intentionally cause the death of Tank Beavers by shooting him with a firearm and did cause the death of Thurston Turner by shooting him with a firearm. Intent is a state of mind and not always easy to prove. The state must prove the intential murder of Tank Beavers. He's dead, Jamal Woods caused his death and third by committing the act that caused his death. He intended to cause the death. It is that a person acts intentionally or to conduct (lesser included charges include intentional murder, wreckless murder.)
February 12, 2009
You read it correctly. Its after 10 pm and I'm just now finding time to update the blog. After closing statements, court took a short break. The judge allowed the jury to decide what they wanted to do about staying or going home for the evening. The jury decided to come back fresh in the morning. The judge will charge them, 12 jurors will be selected from the pool of 15 (one was dismissed this week due to illness), then they will deliberate.
In case you missed it, one of the charges against Jamal Woods was amended this afternoon. It was a mutual agreement by both parties. Woods remains charged with capital murder for the deaths of Tank Beavers and Thurston Turner, one count of attempted murder for Tory Rogers and first degree assault of Tim Reliford.
Capital murder trials have 2 stages. If the jury hands down a guilty verdict, a sentencing phase will be scheduled. Much like the Albarran trial, the sentencing phase takes about a week and it consists of testimony, evidence and witnesses. The same jury will decide if Jamal spends the rest of his life in prison without parole or dies by lethal injection.
Please check back tomorrow for updates.
Thanks to everyone who has taken time out to keep up with the proceedings on our website!
Don Rizzardi, closing statement.
'I agree with one thing. He's right I do get the last word. I don't understand when they say we don't make excuses and don't excuse his actions, what does that show? Jamal Woods is charged with assault first degree of Tim Reliford, attempted murder of Tory Rogers, capital murder of Thurston Turner and Tank Beavers (shows photos). In that Woods intentionally killed 2 or more people with a deadly weapon and the attempted murder of Tory Rogers in that the intent of causing the death of Mr. Rogers. The only difference in attempted murder of Tory Rogers and the murder of Tory Rogers, he didn't die."
"Mr. Mann told you this is not a 'who done it.' I say the same thing. We have to prove who did it. Not one of you has any doubt who did the shooting. Witness after witness told you. Jamal told you. I've never seen anything like it, going in a restaurant shooting it up, hitting 4 people, 2 in the head 1 in the back. He just backs it up. He tells you that. You heard from Jamal Woods, that he told the truth. I say he did tell the truth. Then he turned to these people (victims and the families of those killed) on the wall and apologized. He utters the word I aint a killer. How many people you got to kill before you are a killer? I guess its more than 2. When he tells you that its an untruth. We can take some of the things he said and believe it."
"We have to prove intent to Tim Reliford. We have to prove that Woods intended to cause serious physcial injury to Mr. Reliford. In his act, he did so. What did he do? He walked up to the bar, with a gun, the hammer pulled back, shoots him in the back of the head. Remember when Chauncey Davis testified? He saw them having a discussion at the bar he said I guess they were blowing it off. After the conversation with Tank Beaves and Jamal Woods, he took 2 steps back, pulled the gun out of his pants, takes a shot hitting Tank in the eye. The bullet goes out the back of his head, across the bar enters Tim Reliford's face, exits by his ear and goes across the restaurant. This is the bullet that killed Tank Beavers and injured Tim Reliford. Here it is, in my hand. You got to decided what Woods intended."
"He caused serious injury to Tim Reliford. He has scars that will never go away. He sees them every morning when he wakes up. He has his memory of that night and the scars to prove what happened. Tim testified he has constant ringing in his ears that will never go away. He has trouble seeing out of his left eye. That's not enough, as Tank turns around a shot is fired. Thurston Turner looks and takes it in the face. He's a foot or 2 away from Tank Beavers, then shoots. You tell me what is Jamal's intent? Already shot one in the head, another one hit right here. That wasn't enough. Bam! He turns to Tory Rogers and shoots, hit him in the back, near the heart. What was the man's intent as he shot him? It aint a far leap. Why bring all this up? If what Jamal tells, the men were surrounding him, if so how did Tory get shot in the back?"
"This is what Tank Beavers looked like (senior picture) This is what Tank Beaves looked like after he was shot (autopsy photo). Laying in the floor of the restaurant bleeding to death. This is what he looked like in the morgue, cleaned up. You shoot a man with a gun from 2 feet away, what's your intent? Consider the rest of his life story, fights in daycare, to the time he was thrown out of summer school, when his father tried to whip him and he said his dad couldn't touch him. What else did we hear? School fights, A&M incident, he's the aggressor. It shows you it wasn't impulse, it shows you this is his business."
(Rizzardi continues by discussing testimony that was delivered from the stand. Most of it you can find in this blog).
Closing arguments by defense attorney Alan Mann.
"The stakes are high in this case. Emotions run a little higher, nerves are a little shorter. I think we can all understand why that is so. The state brings their case before you, lay out there version of the evidence, which is there job. Your job is to look at all the evidence. I said when I did my opening statement that we offer our condolences. These are some good people here. They have suffered like no other. I said you won't hear us make excuses for Jamal Woods actions. One thing you have not heard, now or ever, that we ask you to excuse Jamal Woods and send him on his way. Its unreasonable, it would fly in the face of everything we are here for."
"The judge will instruct you in this case. She will talk to you about 'beyond a resonable doubt status.' It is YOUR job to prove what is beyond a resonable doubt. The judge will tell you, you have to be convinced of every single element in this case. That's the law. If we have any respect for the law, we have to stay by that."
'The state brings these charges to you and these counts. They tell you each one of the charges there are no questions about intent. I submit, you are the one who makes that decision. The state would like you to dismiss everything the defense has presented to you. Things are what they are. I've heard that old saying, it is what it is. Somethings are. To the element of intent, the state would like you to consider some evidence, but not other evidence. They want you to dismiss his childhood problems. That's just fluff. I tell you its important. We didn't know him then but you heard from people who did. They shared things they didn't make him look very good. Talked about his temper. They testified about the life of a young man, one the state is asking you to end. As you look to the element of intent, as the judge instructs you, consider all the evidence and circumstances. The fact Jamal didn't go into the restaurant with a gun looks like he wasn't looking for trouble. However, he walks you through the steps of that night when 4 people were shot. You can also take into account what Dr. Akerson testified, his reaction, tendency to over react, impulsive nature. The state can't just throw it out there in your lap. You have to make the decision. You got to consider it all before you reach your conclusion. As to Mr. Reliford you have to determine if Mr. Woods intended to shoot him, same with Mr. Rogers. Mr. Beavers it has to be proved as well and with Mr. Turner."
"Not sure I've been troubled in 15 years as much as I have in Mr. Turners case. As much intent or element in this case, the state has to prove Mr. Woods caused the death of the 2 individuals that died. When you get to Mr. Turners case you heard compelling evidence about what caused his death. You want to believe Dr. Shaker's testimony, medical records, testimony of Mr. Morgan, all 3 of those point to another cause for Mr. Turner's demise. There's been testimony before you that Mr. Turner may have walked out alive. That troubles me greatly on the issue of causeation. If you have a resonable doubt that Jamal Woods caused the death of Mr. Turner you cannot convict him of capital murder. The judge is going to give you a charge on what you consider. The judge will instruct you on the crime of murder, not capital murder, sometimes called wreckless murder. It states under circumstances Mr. Woods wrecklessly engages in conduct that creates a grave risk of death to another person. That falls short of the intent. He wasn't thinking about consequences, he reacted. Consider all the evidence, listen to what the judge instructs you on."
'You heard from Jamal Woods in a long day of testimony. Its not a 'who done it' case. I think we all know. Why did he take the stand? Make himself look good? He admitted he went into the restaurant, sold drugs, did things in his life that hurt others. Its not my job to make you like Jamal Woods. If we tried to paint him as a choir boy, we didn't. He's not. The state has to prove beyond a resonable doubt that they are going to execute a man. He is a witness like anyother witness. You can consider the credibility of a witness, whether Jamal Woods was truthful on the stand. I submit to you he was painfully honest about his life, the position he sits in now."
"I must apologize to you now, I'm not a doctor. We didn't understand all the ramifications on what was done to Mr. Turner and what Dr. Shaker was trying to say in his report. We never even heard of that procedure, the coil that caused a stroke. It troubles me. I will tell you this, its true that we all have strategy. We choose to do certain things. All that's part of what we are supposed to do. I submit to you facts are facts. We didn't place that coil inside Mr. Turners head to confuse you. We didn't somehow get into our time machine and go back to LA 20 years ago. We didn't make the facts up. They are what they are. None of that is strategy. It is what it is."
"You will hear instruction from the judge, intervening cause to intent, causation element that must be proven. The law is if you have a reasonable doubt you cannot find him guilty of that offense. Its the law, if that fails, we all fail. I ask you to also consider because the state has the burdern of proof, they have the last say, I ask you to think what would we have said in response. I think you can figure that out. Thank you.'
Closing arguments by Assistant DA Shauna Barnett.
'We have the burden of proof. We accept that and we are proud to do it. You've heard a lot of information, a lot of people. My job is to narrow it back down. Why are we here? The defendant is charged with capital murder and 2 counts of attempted murder. The attempted murder charge may not be appropriate so we agreed to amend that charge. So now Jamal's charged with assault first degree for Tim Reliford. As to capital murder, Jamal Woods intentionally caused the death of 2 people in one act of conduct. As the attempted murder charge, Woods did so with intent to commit murder. The amended charge of assault first, did with the intent of causing serious physical injury of Tim Reliford. Did we prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt? The fact that Jamal Woods was the actor in this case is undisputed. You've heard from witnesses, eye witnesses, investigators, even the victims, the defendants wife, friends or former friends of Woods, you even heard from the defendant that he walked up and shot those people. The element of intent is exteremely fair in this case."
"He was with his wife and friends, got mad, decided to leave, went out side to his car, decided to go get his car, leaves the scene for 13 minues, gets the gun, comes back inside, gets mad again, shoves his wife, walks to the bar, positions himself behind multiple people and shoots, shoots, shoots and shoots. Each time he had to pull that trigger. There is no doubt about this intent. He fired on unarmed people."
'Lets go back to the other elements, assault first we have to prove Tim Reliford suffered injuries. He testified he was shot in the head. You saw his scars. Those are not going away. He's stuck with those for life. He's still alive, at least. He has vision impairment. He testified to constant ringining in his ears. You heard about the Glock 9mm, the deadly weapon. Combine those elements, with identity and intent, we have proved that assault charge.'
'Now for the attempted murder against Tory Rogers. We submit after he shot 2 people in the head as Tory turns away he is shot in the back where Tory's heart is. The defendant even said he was trying to run away. Tory was in a coma for a month, missed Christmas, the birth of his baby girl. We submit he tried to end Tory's life by shooting him with a fire arm. '
Now we move to the capital murder charge. We have to prove that he intentionally caused the death of Tank Beavers and Thurston Turner. Tank Beavers didn't even make it to the hospital. He died right there and bled out in the restaurant. After shooting Tank in the face, he shoots Thurston Turner in the mouth. His artery was nicked. You heard a paramedic with HEMSI say he was bleeding profusly from the mouth. Thurston lost is pulse right there at the restaurant. Through the heroic efforts of emergency personnel they kept him alive long enough to get him to the hospital. Thurston hung on for 9 days. He held on long enough for his family to say goodbye. Tank's family didn't get that priviledge. Did Jamal cause Thurston's death? Yes. You walk up to a bar, unarmed individuals, he started firing. Stays in one place and fires 4 time. All hell breaks lose as people run for their life. He ran out of the restaurant like a coward. I submit to you we have proven each and every element. You must return a verdict of guilty to every count. Thank you.
Alan Mann...'Did you ask Adell Shaker to lie? "Certainly not. We would never ask a witness to lie." You saw photographs of those coils? "He took three phots. We should have noticed something and took the time to question Dr. Shaker."
Don Rizzardi...'How many murder cases have you handled? "Over 100 probably." How many have the medical examiner been imposed? "The most recent one where Frankie Nunez was released from a capital murder case. We used Dr. Shaker in that case as well. There have been other cases as well."
Larry Morgan being cross examined by Don Rizzardo.
'I agree with Mr. Rizzardi that those emergency medical technicians out there are heroes." Once Mr. Turner became a patient of Huntsville Hospital did he respond to the lifesaving treatment? "The patient was saved." Do you know from the records when the embolization procedure was administered? First day, later? "Immediatly upon arrival at the hospital." Dr. Shaker's testimony varied Monday? "Yes." Why? "We had a conversation before he testified. We sat in the hall before he came in, his questions were do you think the state will be mad at me? He's state employed, professional, doesn't represent the prosecutions interest. They are there to answer questions honestly. Dr. Shaker was reluctant to answer the questions because of any personal repurcutions that may occur."
Cross examination by Don Rizzardi...'Did your testimony the first time have an affect on the case? "Yes." Do you think what you are doing here will have any "Yes the jury will take everything into consideration, the testimony, then they will decide the facts and the fate." Did you want Jamal to testify? "Its irrelevant. Its his decision." You couldn't stop him from testifying could you? "You put yourself in that seat as a witness. This is cross examination you can answer the questions just like everyone else." You couldn't stop him from testifying? "Judge he can't object sitting in this seat!! He is trying to talk to the court!"
You have any desire to see Jamal aquitted? (objection) "Just so I know, ask me again. My desire under my oath of office, same one that you take, rules of evidence, law, ethical laws, represent my client. We know that Mr. Woods has never dodged responsibilty for his actions." Didn't you hear him testify? (objection by defense) (Don Rizzardi) 'Judge this is cross examination. I get to ask the questions. (objection by defense)
When you got to ask questions, you asked Dr. Shaker 2 times to ask leading questions? "One time." No two times. "No only once. I only have the right to ask leading questions on cross examination." Couldn't you ask him the questions you talked about on Saturday? You didn't do it? "There are many reasons..."Its a simple question Mr. Morgan. It's yes or no. You will answer that (objection)! It requires a yes or no answer judge. "I did do it." Why didn't you stay on it? You are not limiited. "I can't direct a witneses to answer a question. He did not do it." You couldn't you have gone further with your questions? "Sure I could have but he informed me he was not going to answer that way because he was afraid of the response from the prosecution." You could have done something to fix it. You are telling the jury as an attorney you didn't do what you had a right, an obligation, to do. "We make the best judgement that we have at that time. The situation changed after his testimony that made me consider this. This is an unorthodox change." The change sir you decided was that this was the best strategy instead of asking Dr. Shaker? "No. I could have asked him I had no compelling reason to ask him. In this case we've been trying to present as much evidence as possible. Mr. Woods encountered conditioning as a youngster by his family on the streets of LA. On the part of anti-social behavor we have a trial strategy of presenting this to the jury as an intent. We present those things to the jury to give us a chance to argue. We present the testimony of the people we call to the stand to give us a plauseable argument, in the nature of a wreckless act. It puts a lot of pressure on defense attorneys when representing our client. There is a rule of professional conduct that says if our client wants us to change direction, we do so. We have an obligation to do this." Sir do you dispute that you used the word strategy 3 times? "You counted them. I guess so." You said 'we will do everything we can. "You don't dispute you said that." How long have you been a lawyer? "I'm in my 35 year." So you opted not to use the questions on a witness for your case? "We adapted." Dr. Shaker said cause of death is homicide. "Yes." He said there was no sign that Thurston Turner took his own life? "Maybe he did, I don't recall." I got to clear up one thing. You say you didn't get medical records until 4 days before trial. You could have gotten those when Mr. Turner died? "I'm aware of options." The autopsy you got from the time you came on the case. "When you provided us a copy." You had that a long time ago. "Yes." The testimony of Dr. Shaker as he puts it in his report, you agree this was your defendant's 14? "Yes." In part of the report embolization is a factor. Was it in the report? "It was."
Larry Morgan has withdrawn himself from the case to testify on behalf of his client! Here is his testimony.
'I'm Larry Morgan. We were appointed 2 years ago to represent Jamal Woods. I've been practicing law for 35 years. I've tried death penalty cases as a prosecutor and a defense attorney. I have testified before as a witness in a criminal case. Robert Tutten and I were appointed (objection by the state...ruling sustained). You recall testimony of Dr. Adell Shaker in this case. You've been involved and observed every minute of this proceeding. "Tried to. I remember his testimony." Priort to Dr. Shaker's testimony did you have a chance to speak with him? "Saturday 2/7/09. It was in response to a call from him on the afternoon of Friday the 6th. He called you. Thought you were a member of the attorneys involved in the civil cases. He basically raised some red flags. We called the judge to have him brought back as a witness. Don agreed to get Dr. Shaker back. " What was the subject matter? "I made the call to him, we exchanged calls at 2:10 pm on Saturday we talked about the red flags in his testimony. The subject matter was about conclusions drawn during postmortam autopsy of Mr. Turner." He came back on Monday of this week to testify. "Yes. I examined him as a witness." Based on his testimony, in response to questions from you and the state, did it vary in anyway? (objection on hearsay). Tell the jury what was different? "It was concerning his observations of the autopsy of Mr. Turner. We refered to his autopsy report on page 5, he talked about the embolization process, medical people tried to stem the flow of blood from Mr. Turner. He noted that in his examination he discovered the existance of very small metal coils with fabric within the coil to try to stem the flow of blood. In the conversation on Saturday he indicated and we talked about the various terms that he used, we talked about why embolization is important. He assisted me in preparing questions to ask him. In talking to him on Saturday, I wanted to make sure that we were on the same sheet of music. He suggested questions that I should ask him. One of the questions 'is there a more simple procedure to accomplish the goal of embolization?' he said an incision would be made and a stitch put across the artery." What about complexity of that procedure. "Any intern in a cave in Africa would successfully accomplish the embolization by ligation." He indicated that in his experience the coil to stop blood was unconventional. It would not meet the prime weight. An intern would turn to a more simple procedure than this. In that, his comments to me were, 'it appeared the doctors at the hospital had written Mr. Turner off and they were experimenting as it were on a dead horse. There was references to multiple coils. The hospital records from Mr. Turner that refered to embolization when did you receive the hospital records? "Morning of 1/22/09. The trial started 1/26/09. THere were 455 pages in that record." Have you ever heard of this procedure? "I knew so little I didn't know to ask the question. We filed a motion to dispose Dr. Shaker. It was not granted." You recall Dr. Shaker's testimony about a conclusion in the hospital records? "I recall he wasn't in agreement with saying this was a non-surviveable injury. Dr. Shaker stuck to his conclusion of manner of death and cause of death." Did he maintain his opposition to the premiss that Mr. Turner could not have survived this injury. "Would a proper surgical intervention have saved his life. Dr. Shaker said yes." He did a full postmortam exam on Mr. Turner and reviewed all of the records. "He viewed all the records before performing the postmortam." You ask him why he did not put these things in his autopsy report? "I don't recall if I ask that specifically." He mentioned the coil in his autopsy report. "I didn't know enough about that to ask the question." He put it was a contributing factor to the demise of Mr. Turner. "That report is in evidence." Even on the stand on Monday he qualified that statement. What did he say "It would be a major contributing factor. That was a red flag he threw up to us. Because he inidicated to us on Saturday he committed to answer the questions that were asked, what a good witness would do, not offer anything, no one asked him those questions, that's what prompted him to call you."
Court is back in session. Larry Morgan has asked to be put on the stand to testify. He is lead counsel for Jamal Woods.
'We are doing it under the law. I understand the state is displease with us.'
Judge his testimony will be complete and utter hearsay without exception. Its hearsay at its basic and most complex. The moment you put him on the stand I'm going to object everything he says."
"Letters used in this case were hearsay. The state found a way around the court to use them as evidence. He put them on. It was hearsay. We are allowed to impeach witnesses. 15 years ago I did the same thing."
'Judge Hamilton...I will allow you to reopen the defesne case to do whatever you think you need to do."
For whatever reason, court is starting late this morning. Everybody is here, not sure what the hold up is.
Check back for updates!
February 11, 2009
Attorneys on both side have rested their case. The jury will be going home early. Tomorrow morning we will hear closing arguments and then the jury will be charged and sent back to deliberate.
Cross examine by Don Rizzardi...'How many times have you testified in a criminal case? "Once a few years ago. It was child abuse." Don't you find it strange in this case you were told not to type up a report? "No. Its not unusual." What's your thought on the death penalty? "I think only God has the right to claim a man's life. Anytime somebody takes a life its morally wrong." So what Jamal did is morally wrong? "Yes." This anti social behavior you don't know if that happened the night of the shooting. "I know he has a disorder. I was not there that night." You trying to tell this jury if they have that disorder they have a break from reality? "At no part of my testimony did I say that." What is narsacism? "You can do no wrong, difficult time appreciating other peoples perspective. Many people have anti social traits that don't have the disorder." What is irresistable impulse? "Drive to act a specific way, they could not resist and acted in a certain way." This gang activity, who told you about that? "Mr. Woods described it. He never said he was in a gang. I made notes of my interviews but didn't bring them all with me." You testified how somebody with anti social disorder might react. How much time would have to lapse if something bad was thrust on them? "The anti social personality is always there. That's not a switch that gets flipped you are always that way."
'You have testified that the diagnosis affects actions. "Yes." Give the jury an idea of the results of certain tests, like an IQ test. "The verbal part of that was given to Jamal Woods. He had a score of 114, high or above average range. When I tested him, I administered an entire battery, his IQ was 104, which is in the average range. His memory was excellent, working memory involving numbers was outstanding. He was good at problem solving." Is there anything about Mr. Woods that would cause him to form intent. "There are no cognative measures that conclude intent. His life long behavior pattern, threatened, disrespecting him he is very likely to respond in a predictable way. There are many situations where he wouldn't think impulsively, but put into hot cognition cases he's going to want to get active, agressive, overreact. When he felt challenged, that's how he responded."
After a break court is back in session. On the stand, as the last witness for the defense, Dr. Josehp Ackerman, pediatric neuropsychologist at UAB. Dr. Ackerman was sworn in as an expert witness. He is being questioned by attorney Larry Morgan.
'Tell the jury how you became involved in this case. "I was contacted in August last year by Cirus Johnson to see if I would conduct a neuropsychology exam. He felt this individual needed the examination. I agreed to do the case." Describe the procedures. "I began with the information provided to me, conducted a direct examination of Mr. Woods at the jail (intelligence, memory, language, attention, capacity for self control). I interviewed Rotesia Woods by phone and meet with the psycologist why provided the first examination." Are the test methods represent acceptable scientific standards? "Yes they do."What were your findings? "Mr. Woods is very intelligent. I found no evidence of neuro impairment to understand what was going on. He presented as having well developed memory skills, math skills, think very rapidly on complex solving tasks he did good on." Based on your meeting, did you arrive at a diagnosis in this case? "Yes. Anti social personality disorder. Ingrained life long trait. The way the person responds to reality, shaped very early in life. There's 7 criteria. You have to meet 3 to be diagnosed. Mr. Woods meets some of the criteria like failure to conform to social norms, decietfulness, irritability, wreckless disregard. I noticed he did display remorse but would come up with arguments about why he did it. He certainly had a very strong positive affection for his family, his mother and wife and of course his children. A lot of the unfortunate decisions he's made in life show he protects and provides for his family. The key he attempted to be a good father/husband. He was doing a good job by providing for his family, keep away from his drug trade. I think those reflected a genuine desire to protect and care for his family. But then there is the lack of regard of how you go about doing that." As a part of the information you gathered did you discover typical things about his upbringing? "Your early experiences impact how you will view the world and react to it later in life. In some early years he was exposed to the LA gang culture. That was very instrumental in who he became. His role model to this day, which is critical, was a big gang member, highly respected because he was a big bad man. He took nothing off nobody and if you did you would pay for it. I think that formed his identity early on." Have you discovered in your dealings with Jamal information concerning conflicts throughout his life. "There is a very clear pattern. If he felt threatened, in any way, he responded to that with overwhelming force. If he viewed you in his group, not challening, he could be very kind, warm and supportive. If he viewed you as crossing him, he would respond with aggression. There would be no question who won or was top dog in that fight."
'Let me ask you doctor, can you give us an opinion as to the mental operation suffering from this condition. "The basic approach with this disorder is self preservation, I matter more than anything and maintaining that rule. In speaking with Mr. Woods he gave me a great quote, "I don't view myself having a problem with authority, as long as they aren't asking me to do anything that doesn't make sense." When he went into a conflict situation, take care of himself and make sure he came out ok." (objection by Alan Mann, I object that the prosecutor is standing by the witness. (Rizzardi) Judge when he was testifying he was reading something. That is part of his report to which we haven't been provided with. (Morgan) Judge there is no report. (Judge...hold on. let me send the jury out of the room)
The defense has one final witness to call to the stand. He will not be available until 1:00 this afternoon.
On the stand for the defense, Kevin Turner, Investigator with the District Attorneys office in Huntsville.
"I handle all the gang investigations, gang detail for Huntsville and Madison County, I'm with the Major Crimes Unit...etc." Your father was a HPD Detective. "Yes sir. 39 years. I've been an investigator for 15 years. I've been in law enforcement a total of 16 1/2 years. I started with the Madison County Sheriff's Department." What training makes you qulified to work in gang activities? (discusses background/education/training) "I go out on the street and work. There is no better experience than that. The first 8 years was spent gathering gang intel. The last 5 years I spent with the STAC Unit. We handle gang investigations, structured selling narcotics that type thing." All your questions will deal with gang members. There are no allegations in this case that Jamal is a gang member. You are going to testify to the facts? "Yes sir, I will tell you the truth."
Kevin in your training and experience give me a brief overlay of what you know about gang culter in South Central LA. "I'll say this as a gang expert, you are only as good an expert if you work in that area. I need to clarify that before we go any further. Me, as a gang investigator the influences here, structured or involved, is totally different than what you see in Los Angeles. I've never worked there or done a ride along. I have friends that work there." What do you know about the interaction of gang members in that area? "Cryps and Bloods originated there. In LA its more organized as far as turf and colors. When you talk about gangs, gang banging, turf, around here its not over turf its about narcotics. In LA you better belong to whatever gang is on that block. If not, you've got questions to answer, who are you with, what neighborhood are you with." What could happen if you are caught on the wrong side? "You could get jumped, beat up, shot, stuff stolen, lot of different things could happen." In your training/experience do you know anything about the characteristics of gangsters? "Yes sir." Had any experince with gangsters here or South Central LA how they deal with respect or disrepsect? "When you are a gang member and at a certain stature, like a full fledge gang member, a level of respect comes with that. If someone disrespects you or makes you look beneath where you are in that gang, they (the gangster) feels like they have to act on it." What are those acts? "There's been times when someone marked out another gang's graffiti. A particular group, even around here, if they wear the other gangs colors that's a sign of disrespect. Not every gang member is the same. They all make their own decisions in each situation." How have people acted in shows of disrespect? "Jumping on that individual, car jacking, firing rounds at one another."
'I'm going to read something to you from a book about gangs. It was published in 2008... 'emotionally and verbally any comment to a gang member, like you are a p***y or a fag will end in a violent response.' Can that happen? "Yes." Larry Morgan continues to read...'Despite a members violent behavior, they are often able to manifest a good guy personality until their ego is being attacked.' Do you agree with that statement? "It can apply to any individual but from what you read, I'll say yes." Quote page 54...'Gangsters see females as objects to be used to fulfill their sexual needs.' Do you agree with that statement? "I can agree with the part of them being used. There are certain situations where females are to hold narcotics or carry weapons." Page 56...'Because of their dysfuncational background, gangsters have a limited concern on whether they live or die.' Do you agree or disagree. "I don't know if I agree with that. The individuals I'm around, well they live a lifestyle similar to that, so yes I guess I do agree with that."
Cross examine by Don Rizzardi...'Do you know Jamal in the gang society. "No I've heard his name in the drug realm but I had never met or seen Jamal until Mr. Morgan contacted me."
On the witness stand now, Bart Sessions high school teacher and football coach at Prattville High School.
'I'm an assistant coach there. I've been in the teaching profession for 14 years. I worked for Davidson High School as a weight lifiting instructor as well as a football and baseball coach. From 2000-2007 I was employed there." Did you know Jamal Woods? "He was a player on our team. I was his position coach. He was a line backer. I saw Jamal daily. He was on the team for 3 years." Did you form an association with Jamal? "Certainly." Did you observe him on a daily basis. "Yes sir in weight lifting class and coaching." Did you ever observe Jamal get into alteractions? "Yes sir. Yes sir I did. I saw it maybe a couple of times. One, kind of stands out a little more than the others." You ever seen him get into an altercation where he wasn't provoked? "That's a hard question to answer." You remember one incident more than another. "Yes one that was violent. In this particular fight we had to barricade them (Jamal and another player) in 2 different rooms. It got to the point where we had to send them home to get away from each other." Were there physical injuries? "Nicked up, bruised up, bloody lip, bloody nose that type thing." Ever know Jamal to initiate a fight with another player? "No not specifically." Have you had communication with Jamal? "No sir we lost touch. I knew he was in this area but lost touch through the years." You have communiction with Jamal's mother? "I sat in on a meeting with Coach Vickery. We talked in general terms, his mothers concerns about him getting into trouble." Anything else about Jamal? "Jamal and I had a good relationship. When I heard about this I was somewhat shocked. I guess he lost control of the situation there. Other than that we had a good relationship. It shocks me that we are here today."
Cross by Don Rizzardi. 'Was it clear you didn't want anymore fighting? "Certainly." Who was the aggressor? "Both young men were trying to get back at each other." Who broke up the fight a second time. "Coaches, several of them." What did you think when yuo heard about the shooting? "Shocked. Heartbroken. Could we have done something to stop it or prevent the change. I would never imagine him doing it."
Welcome back! Court is now in session. Defense attorneys are calling their first witness of the morning. Glen Vickery, head football coach at Daphne High School is now testifiying.
'Do you know Jamal Woods? "Yes sir. I was head football coach at Davidson High School. He was a student athlete. I coached him in varsity football. I knew him 3 years. After he graduated did you have communication with him? "Yes he called me once. He came back to one of our games after he left for school at A&M. When I was coaching, Jamal was an outside line backer on our defense." You had a chance to see and observe him. "Yes everyday." Ever see him in conflicts with other students or athletes." One occassion after practice, we were in our dressing facility. There was an alteraction between Jamal and another player were going at it pretty good. That day the fight wasn't going to end unless 3 or 4 coaches got involved. It was pretty violent." What caused that fight? "We separated them talked about it. Horseplay in the locker room. It was nothing major but it became major during the fight. It happened around 6:00 in the evening." Did it take several coaches to separate them? "Yes. I was there that time and another time as well." You say it was normal horseplay? "I think the other young man threw something or did something to Jamal that was inapprorpiate. It set him off, at his own teammate." How long did it take to break up the fight? "Seemed like forever. Maybe 30 seconds. In this case it was pretty violent. I don't think they cared who was around. It was one versus one. Usually if there was a fight in the field house or on the field and no serious injury we would run them until they couldn't run them anymore. We felt it was 2 kids that lost it and we handled it in house." "On several times mom and I would talk on the phone. I'm worried about Jamal. He said this or that last night. Anything I could do to help. Obviously there was something at home his mother was worried about. I care and love kids. I spent a lot of time with Jamal in those situations trying to talk. Later in the year Jamal got a letter saying he would not graduate due to excessive unexcused absences. I walked in, Jamal exploded. Jamal was on the floor in the main office. 2 coaches on top of him. Being a guy that loved Jamal, it tore me up that it happened. It was past that point, there was not talking. Jamal grabbed a stapler hit me in the face, blood went everywhere. He didn't know who was doing the restraining. It was a very terrible day in my life, for a player that I loved for this to happen. This was the worse time I remember Jamal losing it." In the 3 years you knew him and since then is there another Jamal Woods out there? "Yes sir. I told him I loved him, he said he loved me. The phone call I remember most was from Jamal at A&M. Jamal called and said coach I'm really sorry. It really tore my heart out that he apologized. He was very sincere. That was very touching. That was better than any state championship I ever won. Jamal was the kind of kid that we spent a lot of time together, talking about the way things should be at home. We became close especially his senior year. He was a quiet kid, he wasn't loud or run around. To us, he was a coaches player. Then in that moment of just losing it, it was very strange. He's very level headed that surprised me. I could feel I won him over as someone he could have confidence in and believe in." Did Jamal ever attack someone without reason? "No sir."
Cross examination by Don Rizzardi. 'You said there were 2 large coaches on top of Jamal. What happened? "He wasn't going to graduate because of excessive absences. When they enforced the no graduation he just lost it. I think it was inappropriate for a 17 year old kid wanting to graduate high school to receive a letter like that." Jamal got suspended for 3 semesters from A&m you know that? "No." Was the Jamal you know a dope head? "No." What was your reaction to the shooting? "I got sick to my stomach. That's not the Jamal I know."
Jamal Woods testimony is now finished. The jury has been sent home for the day.
More cross examination by Don Rizzardi. I did not blog all of this because a lot of it was repeat testimony about the night of the shooting and a few incidents from Jamal's life that were talked about earlier.
'Let's move on. You told us what happened that night. I didn't hear the part where you cocked the slide of the gun. "When I left the apartment." You told the jury you went back to the table and sat down. How did you approach the bar? "Back side and came up that way. I walked right up on him (Tank). We were 2 feet away. I was in the bar about a minute."
After the shooting...."We got a room at the LaQuinta Inn after the shooting. Ms. Blackmon got the room it was in her name. I can't get a room, I had no ID on me. I called and checked on my kids. I called Norman Rogers I needed to get rid of my car. It was sitting in a neighborhood off Holmes." Did Tara stay with you? "Yea." What did you do? Sit around and watch television or stare at each other? "We did nothing. I was trying to make calls for somebody to get rid of my car. I was outside waiting for Norman. I don't know what Tara did. Norman and I got in the car. Kymetta called me on the phone. I told her to meet me in New Project (close to the courthouse). She wanted a sack of cocaine. She called me cause I supplied her. I told her I would give her an 8 ball for free if she drive my car." What you let the drug go for? "$100.00. Kim got in the back seat of Norman's car. I told her what I needed to do. My focus was on my kids and getting rid of my car."
More testimony with prosecutors and Jamal Woods.
'You write this? "Yea that's my signature." Read this part. "I love my wife. If you were there I would have done the same thing (speaking to Tara Blackmon). I love you too. If you love me you would know what to do and not what to do. You supposed to guard your body and heart and let no man get close to it." What did you mean? "What you think I mean? Probably talking about what I did." So it doesn't matter if your wife was there, you would have done the same thing (referring to the shooting). "She aked in her letter if I love her, she said I didn't kill anybody for her so I must not love her." You heard your wife testify about a $3,000 ring. No ring instead she has a tattoo. "It was my idea."
'You recognize that? "Yes sir. Its a letter I wrote. I signed it. It says love your future husband. Don't know who it was written too." You have visitation, who visits? "My wife. Tara." Read this. "Hey baby how you doing? Been eating? I hope so. You better do something special for me when I get out and show me how much you love me. Get a tattoo on your neck that says Mrs. Woods." You want your wife to do that and Ms. Blackmon? "Yes sir. A tattoo shows love and its with you forever."
'You recognize this letter? "I need to read it first. Its written to Ms. Blackmon." Read it please. "You my girl for life. We stuck for life and our baby will too. F**k Tesia! We will be together forever. Yea, I said it. I mean it. Again I'm telling Ms. Blackmon what she wants to hear." When you use foul language to a lady doesn't that show disrespect? "I didn't mean none of it."
Do you recognize this letter? "Its signed by me." Read this part please. "Your baby daddy, your husband and friends. It's writtent to Tara." In that letter don't you talk about your appropriate sentence in this case? "Let's look at it. I don't think so." Read here..."I'm trying damn hard to come on to you girl. Its hard to sleep without you next to me. I speak whats real, nothing fake. You can't wait I understand real life s***. Its hard to be yourself. Try to holla. For the next 10 years you got to be by yourself, its all on you, I'm not saying I'm getting out but its all on you." Why 10 years? "I'm not familiar with the law. Have no idea how long I will be in or if I will ever get out" Didn't you tell Ms. Blackmon a sentence of 10 years is appropriate for killing 2 people. "No. I never said." Are you sure?
Judge we move to admit this exhibit. You recognize this? "I wrote it. Its to Ms. Blackmon." Read this page. "I'm sorry about mistakes I've made. I'm crying inside. I don't want to let you go. You are not as ready as I want you to be. I care about you. You are special and you will be ok. You are supposed to start a new job. Stay strong and focused on life. I f***** up mine. My baby is sick and Tesia is going to have to take off work. She'll probably lose her job. Please give her $1500 dollars so they can eat. You need anything, write me, you know where I am and when I get out we can be together again. I love you girl more than you will ever know. I am here with no place to go. Best friends forever." You asking your girlfriend to give your wife $1500 of drug money? "Yes." Let's go back. That's a letter already admitted into evidence. Who is the letter addressed? "Ms. Blackmon." Ever feel the need to keep Ms. Blackmon in line? "What you mean? When you said you would smash out her window and flatten her tire if she talked to another man. It was a joke between us. You don't get it."
Cross examination by Don Rizzardi.
'You been on the stand now for 3 hours. You talked a lot. We are going to cover a lot of things. When you came back from Mobile where you working? "When I left home to get an apartment, Cinram."
'So you are a drug dealer. "Yes." How much you make? "$2-3,000 a week in cash." Did Brandon run stuff for you? "No." Who helped with your business? "Me mainly. Sometimes Tara Blackmon. At the time she was my girlfriend. I called her Tara. Her street name was Red Bomb." How many girls you have? "Just one girlfriend. I knew a lot of females." Since you been locked up you correspond with your wife? "Yea the whole time. I call her I write." What about Tara? "I called and wrote for the first month I was there." When did you go to jail? "December 18, 2006." You were still writing her on Valentine's Day in 2007? "No sir. The last thing I wrote her was in the begining of February."
'What is this? "A letter." You wrote this? "Yes sir. How does it start out? "Happy Valentine's Day." So you did correspond with Ms. Blackmon on Valentine's Day? "I pre-write all my stuff. My wife Tesia has got one on the mail now. I do everything early." Read this part. "P.S. I sent you a gift. Hope you like it. Tesia didn't get one. I hope its special to you like it is to me." You held her (Tara) sacred to your wife? "No I only got one wife. I told Tara whatever she wanted to hear to keep my business (drug) going." There are times you referred to Tara Blackmon as Tara Woods. Was she your wife? "No sir." Who is this letter addressed too? "Tara Woods." There are times when you would talk about the events of December 17, 2006. "If you say so." You know of a song? (Jamal speaks of a wrap song by Gucci Man..."shot one, shot 2 shot 3 1/2 times...wasn't me." You just laughed. Is that funny? "I recited a song by another person. That's all." Are these letters you wrote? Who are they written too? "Tara." Hows it signed. "J. Woods. I love you." Read this..."I called Tesia at 9:30 as usual the whole time I was on the phone I was hoping you would beep in. You didn't. I feel like you gave up on us." That same letter read the last sentence. "I know you don't want to hear this but I prefer Tesia never know about us. When we have our first child, she doesn't need to know. I can't handle the drama that's wrong." Is that disrespecting your wife? Iif she found out about me having a girlfriend? Yes."
'What is this? Who is it signed by? "Me."What does it say? Love you. Addressed to Ms. Blackmon." Start here and read. "Don't give up on me, we are still in this together forever....try to bare with me. I got to go home. Smile for me. I love you." You have a wife and 2 kids, you are saying a third one is on the way. "We were talking about the future. I got no more kids. Again I tell her what she want to hear." Being disrespectful is ok as long as you pay the bills? "No." You recognize this? Who is it to? "My homey. Ms. Blackmon." How is it signed off? "Love J "mother f***** Woods."
"Kemyatta Summers called me that morning wanting a sack (of dope). I left my car behind Holmes Avenue." You heard her testimony about her agreement. "She wanted a sack I told her I would give her an 8 ball if she drove my car." You heard the police officer talk about when he got you out of the car when you were arrested. What were you thinking? "Its time to man up. Its time to man up, its over with. Norman ask if he wanted me to punch it. I said naawww I don't want anybody else to get killed."
Was it in your mind that you could escape the price for this. "I was still in a state of shock. I couldn't think that far ahead. I was running on adrenaline. I was wanting to get rid of the car to spend time with my kids. I was handcuffed and put in the car. I was worried about my family." You regret what happened that night? "Very much so." Is that what you intended to happen when you started out that evening? "No sir."
What do you want to say Jamal to this court? "There's some good people over here that's suffered. I've been waiting to send my condolences. I never intended for this to happen. I'm sorry and I regret everyday you lost your children. I know what that feels like. I miss my children too. I'm very sorry. I mean it from the bottom of my heart. I didn't want any of this to happen. I never intended for this to happen. Not when I went to get that gun, left that table went to the bar. They were good men. I don't want you to feel that pain. If I could take it back I would. For 2 years and the rest of my life I got to deal with this. Please accept my apology even though I can't take it back. Please accept my apology."
Based on what you said, you expect anybody to excuse you? "Probably wont and dont expect them to. I don't excuse myself." You know there are consequences for your actions. "Yes sir."
'Jamal before the lunch break you told us about getting a handgun. "Yes sir." How long did it take to get the gun and get back to the restaurant? "10-15 minutes." When you got back to the restaurant where was it on your person? "On the way back to the restaurant it was in my lap. When I got back I couldn't decide if I should leave it in the car or take it with me. I decided to take it inside in case things popped off (escalated). There were 4 people at the bar. All of them was taller than me. I didn't know any of them." Why did you take it inside? "I didn't know if the situation was going to escalate. Just in case things popped off and I couldn't get to the car." Did you know if any of the men at the bar were armed? "I don't put it past anybody." You made the decision to get the gun. "I put it in my waistband in the middle. Had my shirt over my pants. I walked back to my table and sit down. I didn't go to the bar because it wasn't an issue yet. The gun was a precaution." You intend to kill anybody? "No sir. I was pissed off, angry, upsest. It was for precaution. I never meant to hurt anybody." What did you do and what was said? "I came back, sat down and as soon as I did the appetizers had arrived. I looked up, don't know who, tapped Mr. Beavers on the shoulder he looked back at me and started smiling. I asked my wife 'you mean something not g, oing on between you and that dude?' She said 'I swear nothing like that I know him from school.' I feel like she was telling the truth. They were being disrespectful."
You heard Rotesia testify that while you were gone they didn't notice any of this going on. "Yes sir." When you came back and sat down what did you see at the bar. "They had there backs turned to me. I tasted one of the potato wedges we got. It was awful. I looked up and saw somebody tap Mr. Beavers on the shoulder and questioned my wife again. She said no." You make any comment to anybody at your table about your thoughts? "Nawww she said I swear its nothing like that. You telling me they being disrespectful. You better hope its not something you not telling me. I'm about to go find out."
Then what happened? "I wanted to get at the bottom line. They really being disrespectful. I wanted to know if Rotesia was having a relationship with these dudes." How long did you sit at the table when you came back into the restaurant? "30-45 seconds." You make any comment to the people at the bar. "Not until I got up." Did your party try to keep you seated. "Rotesia said sit back down. I told her I was going to find out what the f*** was going on. I walked up to the bar, stepped in between Mr. Beavers and the man to his right. I was about 2 feet from them. I said you aint got no reason to speak to me or my mother f***** wife. I was talking to Mr. Beavers. He was turned around in his seat facing me. The others were looking." After you said that what did Mr. Beavers say "I can speak to her. She's my mother f****** cousin. I said 'is this a game to you?' He said n***** that's my mother f***** cousin." Were you close enough to him to make any kind of judgement on whether he was consuming alcohol. "I don't know. I yelled back across the restauarant and asked my wife if this was her cousin. She said no. She stood up and said no. That's it. I believed her. Mr. Beavers say 'you want to do something about it f**k n****r.' I told him to 'slow his roll boy I got my iron on you.' He said f*** you and your mother f****** gun. He stood up and I saw Mr. Turner and Mr. Rogers stand up." Did they say anything? "No. I just spoke to Mr. Beavers. I took one step back, I could see the other 2 standing up. I pulled my pistol out and started shooting. I was reacting to the immediate threat I felt. It wasn't about a gun. It was about 3 people and only 1 of me." Was that a resonable response? "Nobody deserve to die. They did though." You recall how many shots you fired? "4 shots." You heard testimony that you pointed the gun in the face of a female. "Naaa that never happened. I never pointed a gun to them. They didn't draw my attention. They never waved. I didn't even know they were at the restaurant until the proceedings started." You recall shooting Mr. Beavers? "Yes. I fired the gun at Mr. Turner and Mr Rogers." Did you aim at Mr. Reliford? "No don't know him." What made you stop shooting. "The threat was over. I shot at Mr. Beavers, Mr. Turner and Mr. Rogers. I'm not saying its self defense. I reacted to the immediate threat that was posed to me."
After the shooting, the video shows you running out of the restaurant. "I was in more shock than anybody in this courtroom. I was in a state of shock. Couldn't believe it happened. When they stood up, time slowed down, as soon as I fired that last shot, everything sped up. I didn't know how to react. I was like 'dang' and I left." How old are you? "24. I've never shot anybody before that day."
After the shooting where did you go? "I got in my car, sat there a second. I was in shock. I crunk my car up went to my apartment." You heard testimony from Norman Rogers said you called him. "Yes I did call him. He was my partner, my homeboy. I called him because I knew he could help me get rid of my car." Was the restaurant busy that night? "Yes it was very busy." What did you think would happen when you opened fire in a busy place. "I didn't think about the people. 3 were standing up on me. I had to do something." What was going through your mind when you called Norman. "I was thinking about my kids. Wanted to make sure they were alright. When it happened I called my wife's cousin. Told her to get the money out of the safe and get my kids to a hotel room. I knew I had to get rid of that car. The only description they had of me was 5'9-6' tall. That wasn't much. Then I heard them say he's in a 70's model Chevell." Did you think you would get away? "I didn't know. Everything was moving so fast. I thought I got to get my kids. My girl (Rotesia) was at the , precinct. I called momma and told her I wanted to come home."
Court is in recess until 1:30.
Questioning of Jamal Woods by the defense continues.
"If I don't know you but know your girl, I'm not going to speak to your girl,, in front of you. If I know both of you, that's different. I hold my woman and my jewels sacred." Your actions didn't always follow your words? "My wife and my kids are dear to my heart." Did you have a reason to believe Rotesia had been with these guys? "Never doubted her before. It wasn't her, actions that made me doubt. It was there actions. Mr. Beavers flipped me off."
Were more than one turning to face you? "2 of them. It was Mr. Beavers and I think Mr. Turner." You mentioned you pointed to your wedding ring. "It wasn't like I was projecting my voice. I just said she married. I wanted him to know." Is it fair to say at this point you can't hear any words being said? "No sir." So t, he gesture with his hand, you saw that? "Yes sir." After that point, did you turn back around? "I ask my wife again and she said no they didn't talk to me in school don't know why they are talking to me now. I stood up and told him to 'turn the f**k around.' He started laughing like the s*** was funny or something. They never took their eye off me. They laughed and one got up to talk to somebody else in their party. Mr., Bevears did turn around then."
Then what happened? "I knew the situation would escalate. I left to get my pistol." Why did you think that? "You could tell the way they were looking. You could sense it. I didn't want to be caught slipping (being without your pistol). Brandon and Chauncey tucked tail and left, like I knew they would. 4 black males were sitting at the bar. I never saw the Lucas sisters at the bar." You decided to leave. Did you say anything? "Naww I just got up. Brandon came out. I went to the car to get something to drink. I was pissed off. I wanted a smoke and drink. I went to look for my ID. My pistol wa, sn't under my front seat. Its usually with me wherever I go. Did you think the gun was in the car? "Brandon came out and asked if I was straight. I told him I was tripping but I wasn't tripping (mad but not to the point of snapping yet). I was originally looking for my ID then realized my gun wasn't in the car. So, I hopped in my car and drove to my apartment at Candlewood. I had several guns there. I got my Glock 9 milimeter." Did you go straight there, get the gun and come back? "Yes."
Testimony continues with Jamal Woods on the stand. He is being questioned by defense.
'I just bought a new bedroom set for a Christmas present. It didnt match the new furniture. Me and Brandon Rucker went out and bought an entertainment center. We were putting it together. My wife came home, wanted some money to go to McDonalds for dinner. I didn't want her eating dinner there. She said she wanted to go to a Mexican Restauarnt. I wanted to go to TGi Fridays. Its a neutral site. She agreed." You have a weapon on you? "No sir. Sundays are family day. I got an apartment where I do my business." You a father of the year? "No. I was working for my household."
Who picked who up and how did you hook up? "Brandon been with me since Saturday night. We went to the Mexican restaurant with Tara (Blackmon) that day. We went shopping for an enteratinment center. Wife, came home, said she was hungry. Chauncey Davis pulled up when we were leaving. Said he didn't have any money. Told him not a problem. Chauncey hopped in my Chevell and we left." Was he a drug dealer? "Yes sir. He didn't make as much money as me. Brandon was kind of a flunky. He worked a job, get a paycheck, quit. Try to put dope in his hands, he would flip it then spend the cash. I've paid for a lot of things for both of them. Brandon was kind of like my son. If his lights got cut off I paid it. I tried to keep peace in his household (between Brandon and his wife)." Were you getting along with Rotesia? "Yes sir." You got into your car. Who is it registered to? "My wife. I was driving, my wife was in the front passenger seat, Brandon was behind me, Chauncey behind Rotesia." Anybody intoxicated or high? "No sir. You can't really eat when you on the side of drugs. No appetite."
You saw the video inside the restaurant. You have any dispute with times you showed up? "No sir." We watched the video yesterday. You recall seeing your party come in the restaurant? "Yes sir." You were on the cell phone? "Yes. Everybody was in a good mood. We go out to eat a lot. 3-5 times a week. We like to get drunk, have a good time, relax. We can have some laughs, drinks.' Were you there to do a drug deal or fight? "Treat my wife to dinner and my homeboys." It appears you were holding your pants in the video. "I bought them real real baggy. Sometimes they will fall. I didn't want them to fall in the middle of the restaurant." Do you recall seeing your hand on your pants? "Both hands were on my pants when I put my phone down." The diagram introduced into evidence shows where you were sitting, you dispute that? "No sir." When you first came in and sat down, what di, d you do? "Everybody sat down, we were looking at the menu. Something about the night just didn't got as usual. For the longest time we talked about every meal on the menu." Did you order any drinks? "I ordered water, Tesia ordered water and Brandon and Chauncey ordered beer." You didn't order because you left your ID? "I hadn't had an ID since I was 17 and I just had one made on the Friday before. My license was revoked for speeding."
At what point did you see Mr. Beavers and his party walk into the restaurant. "We were at the table, Chauncey said someobody trying to get your attention. I seen Mr. Beavers waving. I'd never seen any of these people (in Beavers party)in my life. I didn't know who he was. When you see somebody waving, he pointed at my wife. I ask if she knew him and she said they went to school together. I waved back but he was waving at my wife." What did she say? "She went to school with him. "When he pointed at my wife and she didn't acknowledge him, he should have turned around. He didn't. I didn't take notice of any waving until Chauncey told me." What happened next? "He still looking back at our table. I'm like you just went to school with him. She said yea he was a grade behind me. I'm trying to figure out why he's still looking back at my table. She didn't make eye contact with him. The first time when I looked up, Tank was waving. I waved like I don't know him but 'what up?' He pointed at my wife I said 'you know these n*****s.' He's still smiling. It threw me off. If that's all it was why is he still smiling. You must have a relationship for him to keep looking." You see Rotesia wave back? "Nawww she didn't acknowledge him at all." When you looked up at the bar, were they looking at you? "Yes sir."
'Why were you a drug dealer? "To support my family. I never said it was right." You love Rotesia? "With all my heart and soul." Does she love you? "I hope so." You heard testimony about things that were found in your house. "Yes sir." Why did you have those things (i.e ammo, guns)? "When you were in the business I was in, there's a lot of cons. People seeing you make a lot of money, you become a target. You got to have protection." In the business you were engaged in, was that a safe business? "No, no, not safe at all." You are not claiming to be a choir boy? "Far from it." Perfect husband? "No sir. "Perfect citizen? "No sir."
Yesterday, somebody testified about an incident at the jail. You remember that? "Yes sir. I had been there about a year." You like to pick fights? "No." There's been an exhibit entered into evidence, a report of what happened that day. What was going on. What happend? "I was in D-3 upstairs in the jail. You got single man cells, 4 on the right, 4 on the left and a hallway. It was a Sunday. Mom drove all the way from Mobile to visit. During our visit, one of the inmates took off his clothes and started playing with his d**k in front of my mother. He had a cup of piss sitting on the end of his bed. He threw that piss at me. He disrespected my mother. I told them (jailers) I wasn't going back to my cell until you open his. The deputy gave him a write up. I told him that doesn't take away the disrespect." What was your mother's reaction. "She was telling me to calm down, over and over. She said focus on me. I told her I can't do that. He pulled his d**k out in front of my mother. She wanted me to let it go. I couldn't. That's my mother. What would you do if that was your momma (speaking to defense attorney Alan Mann). What if I pulled my d**k out in front of your mother?" Did your mother react? "No but we were both disrespected." The deputies wrote this report and said you became irate. "Yes I became very irrate. My focuse was on Derrick Stricklan, d (inmate)." What did you think would happen to you? "Didn't matter."
The jury is back from a short break Testimony with Jamal Woods continues.
'We were talking about things your mother taught you. "She told me to be conservative with money. She told me to save money. Always make sure you have a plan B. She taught me to handle my checkbook. She always told me to earn what you get, if its given to you, you won't appreciate it." When was your first job? "God Father's Pizza in Mobile. I took orders, prepared pizza, cashier. I was 15. It was during the off season of football." What other jobs have you worked? "Landscaping but that didn't work out for me. Oh I also worked at Westin as a telemarketer." You started school at Alabama A&M. When was that? "2002. I was in school for 3 semesters." What happened? "Got into a fight, got expelled (later would say suspended for 3 semesters). It's really a long story. It started on a Friday. We snuck in a females room, having a party, had beer and marijuana. One of the females was feeling me and another dude that was there was feeling this girl (in other words they liked each other) She wasn't giving him any attention cause I was there. We ran out of weed so I went back to my dorm room to get some more weed. I tried to come back and the dude wouldn't let me. I tried to avoid confrontation. Dude snapped the window in my face. We exchanged words. I told him he was a coward. I told him if I saw him slipping in anyway I was going to get him. Weekend goes by I don't see dude. I come into the cafeteria on Monday, I swiped my meal card, sat at the table. I saw dude and reminded him of what happened. I told him I could see he didn't want to fight. I get up and dude kicks over the table making a scene. When you are in that enviornment, everybody surrounded me. I went back, he picked up a tray, he refused to calm down. I whipped him. We fell into the glass he broke when he flipped the table. He had a lot of glass in his face and arms. They set a hearing for me in October. They expelled me from school." You think about the consequences? "No. He was making a scene, he flipped over the table knocked over the chairs. If I looked away it would make me look like a b***h, fag, coward. You got to stand up or you get rolled over."
You got kicked out of A&M. How was your schooling paid for? "Grants and loans in my name." Did you have any jobs in college? "2 jobs. Ruby Tuesday on the salad bar and Checkers. I didn't like that job." What was your plan when you got expelled? "I went home to Mobile. Mom told me to get a job. I was expelled 3 semesters. It was my plan to go back to college. Shortly after my wife called and said she was pregnant." Let me back up, we missed something. "I met my wife, Rotesia Horton, at school. I was with my home girl, she's a dyke. Its dark I see a female, she look good. Talk to her get her number. My homegirl told her I wanted to holla at her. I called her once or twice. She played me to the side. I ain't going to sweat nobody. I called twice she didn't play. I met her again, later on. I saw that attractive female again. She ask if I remember her. She said my name's Tesia. She gave me her number, we hooked up and it went from there. We weren't married when she became pregnant."
Get to the point where you and Rotesia married. "I went home in the first week of January. She called and said she was pregnant. She was once a student at A&M. So I said I've got 2 choices. I can either enroll in the reserves to help provide money for my family or I can go back and stay with a friend of my family in Huntsville and save my money for an apartment. Rotesia called me crying. Her dad talking down about her being pregnant. It bothered her, I cared for her. I told mother I was leaving, come to Huntsville get a job. Mom didn't agree with that. She said I was getting myself into something I wasn't prepared for." What was going through your mind? "I know what it was like growing up without my father. I didn't want it to be like that."
At some point you and Tesia married. "September 28, 2004. Our boy was a few months old when we got married. We got married in Mobile." Were you there when your child was born? "Yes sir. He was born at Huntsville Hospital. We named him Jamal Woods. My mother named my child. My grandmother named me, mom named my kid." Once the child was born, you had a family of 3. "Yes sir. We bought a home on Blue Springs Road. We bought the house in the month of July of 2004. Nice size house." You have another child? "2005, July 11. We had another son. His name is Jamen Woods. My boys are 4 and 3 today." From the time your child was born until you were married you have any other jobs? "Early part of my marriage, I worked. I had to pay my cousin $200 for rent so I went to work at Cinram making $6.50 an hour. I got fired. I did some odd jobs, SCI a few other places. Then I found another job that I could support my family. I made between $8-9 an hour. We (Tesia worked there too) brought home almost a $1,000 a week. A friend kept my kids."
"Then, me and my wife separated I got fired for insubordination." What did you do? "We had a previous supervisor, Tommy, he trained me. We made circuit boards for the Navigator. I tested them. I got so good at what I did, they (the other workers) fell behind. So one day, they was putting in faulty parts, they were failing. I was checking the machine, it was up (the hood) a new supervisor came by and asked what I was doing. He said I shouldn' be touching it. He fired me." What happened when you lost that job? "You aquire bills on a certain level. We got these bills coming in. My wife away from home she saying the baby needs Pampers and wipes. I lost my job. I was trying to find a job. The ones I got couldn't pay the bills. It was pointless to waste my time working these jobs. I got my last check I bought a quarter ounce of cocaine. I had to flip it. I had to make money the fastest way I could. I was the only one paying the bills. I kept up the house payment. I gave money to Rotesia."
Rotesia testified you sold drugs. "Yes sir. I sold drugs. I made good money." When is the first time you used illegal drugs? "I experimented when I was 12. My mom caught me and beat the mess out of me. Then I went back to it during college." When did you first start drinking alcohol? "I didn't. When I got in college, it wasn't that big a deal. Marijuana use was excessive."
Testimony with Jamal Woods continues with defense attorney Alan Mann.
'You graduate from high school? "Yes. Williamson High School. I went to college at A & M. I was living on campus in a dorm. I was majoring in psychology with a minor in criminal justice. I wanted to major in criminal justice. They didn't have it. I wanted to be an attorney. I always admired attorneys. I knew they made a lot of money. I like to argue." While you were in high school did your mother teach you about handling money? "After my grandmother died it was a major loss for our family. Mom asked if she died could I take care of myself. From then on she made me learn all that stuff. I paid bills, balanced the checkbook, learned to drive."
Court is now in recess for a quick break.
Jamal Woods testimony continues. He is being questioned by defense attorney Alan Mann.
'How old were you when Charles died? "I was 8. I was sleeping in bed with my mother. It was around 2 in the morning. She woke me up and said your uncle dead, your uncle dead. Somebody stayed with me while they (my mom and auntie) went to view the body. I didn't see my uncle again until the funeral." How did you feel about your uncle? "That was my uncle, my guy, I lost a part of me at that time at that age. We had 2 funerals. One in LA and one in Mobile for my grandmother. He was my only male role model."
Who taught you what it means to be a man. "My uncle. I remember one whipping from him. He was dropping me off at a cousins house. I didn't want to be there. I started crying. He whipped me for crying. He said boys don't cry. He demanded a level of respect. I wanted to be respected like that. He was a big man. That's how I looked at him." Did your mom teach you life lessons? "Yes. She taught me to live for tomorrow not today. She said you got to earn what you get. Always plan fo, r tomorrow. School was a pet peeve. I could get away with breaking something in the house but if I messed, up at school it was my butt. She demanded discipline. She was hard working and determined. She became my role model. She's my idol. I don't put her before God but she is my earthly idol. Nobody compares, not even my wife."
Have you had physcial altercations in your life? "Several." Fights? "Several, . I was in head start, about 2 or 3. Some little dude used to pick on me. It was reported to my mother. They (the school) told me I couldn't fight. When the teacher reported it to my mom and auntie they told me to hit him. So the next day I hit him with a chair. He started crying. When they hit you, hit them back. I wasn't worried about getting in trouble." Did you fight in elementary school? "Several. I got in a fight at Morning Side in Mobile. It was this one dude we got into it all the time. It starte, d he bumped into me coming out of class. I told him to say excuse me. He pushed me. I pushed him back. It created a rivalry. He didn't like me. I didn't like him." High school? "Yea a lot. I got kicked out of summer school for this one (Davidson High School in Mobile). One of my coaches was my teacher he would be out of the classroom a lot. We were throwing balls of paper at people. I told a dude I bet he wouldn't throw a roll of tissue at someone. He dared me to do it so I threw it instead. The dude I hit stood up and said who threw that. My buddy pointed at me on the low. During the test, dude told me he was going to shoot me. He went back and sat down at his desk. I sat down beside him and ask if he wanted to shoot me, kill me. He said one of you n*****s wanted to hit me in the head with a mother f*****g roll of tissue. I hit him in the throat, he fell. I grabbed his head and ran my knee in his face 10 times. I hit him again, over and over. I raised him up, smoked him in the face, he left on a stretcher. I got kicked out of summer school. You don't let anybody talk to you like that." Did you think about the consequences? "No sir. It could have cost me my football career in high school." Let's talk about your time as a football player. "I started playing flag football at the age of 5. My first time on the field I was scared. Later on I got better." Did you start playing in high school? "Yes sir. I played several different positions. As a freshman I played at Davidson. I went through my senior year. I had 2 head football coaches." Did the coaches demand respect? "Yes sir."
"I got kicked out of Davidson and went to Williamson." Why did you get kicked out of Davidson? "My grandfather just died. He lived in LA. My mother left to attend his funeral. I stayed out of school. I checked the mailbox from the school, there was a letter inside. I opened it and it said I had too many unexcused absences. It was days I was supposed to be in court for traffic violations. I went to the school to talk to the principal. He said my mother had to set up an appointment with the school board to get it cleared up. She wasn't going to be back in time. I told him I had the excuses with me. But they wouldn't let me. He said you are expelled the rest of the year. I said what the f*** you mean I'm expelled. He told the coach to restrain me. I told him I didn't do s***. I told the coach to not put his hands on me. I started swinging. I hit all the people. I got arrested for disordly conduct, they dropped the assault charge, and I got kicked out of school." Did it dawn on you that you would get kicked out? "No. I just wanted to explain my situation. I wanted to graduate." You were allowed to continue in public school. "Yes. I went to Williamson High School and enrolled. I talked to the principal myself and told him the situation. I graduated."
Jamal Woods is now on the stand.
'I'm the defendant in this case. I'm 24 years old. I just had a birthday, February 1st. I was born in 1985. Roy Woods is my father. Susan Davis is my mother. Don't know where my dad is. We had an episode when I was 12 or 13, last time I really saw him was probably when I was 2. The only real memory is when my dad came by the house and said he wasn't coming by again. I didn't understand why. I was 2 or 3 years old." Let's clarify your terminiolody. What does righteously mean? "For real, honestly." You made the decision to get in that chair and testify. "Yes sir." You took an oath to tell the truth. "I will tell the truth, only the truth."
After you saw your father, you said you saw him again. "We came back out to LA I was supposed to stay the whole summer. My mother wanted me to establish a relationship with my father. He met us over at a friends house. I went to his apartment, met his girlfriend. He said he was going to introduce me to the family I didn't know. I went over to my auntie's house and I was listening to a CD. It was Tupac CD. My cousin came in the room and took the CD out and put in a different CD. I told him I was listenting to that to put the CD back in. He ejected it again. I told him that I asked his mom if I could listen she said yes. He reached for the CD player again. This time, I smoked him (hit him in the face). My dad separated us. He gave my cousin a whipping. He was going to whip me. I told him if he put his hands on me we would have problems. He was paralyzed on his side from a drive by shoo, ting, I pushed him (dad) over the chair, left and called my auntie to come and get me. I was 12 or 13." What made you that mad? "I ask his mother if I could listen to the CD, she said yes. It was in my control and I got permission. For him to take it out like he run something, you just don't do that." When you reacted the way you did, what were you thinking? "I wasn't thinking. I hit him it was a natural reaction."
Your aunt just testified, that's the one you stayed with? "Yes." (talks about going to schools from headstart on up to Alabama A&M) Were you one of the youngest in your class? "Yes sir, always." You heard your aunt and godmother testify in this trial. You heard both of them testify about you growing up in LA. Do you have clear memories of that. "Yes I do. The earliest memory I have is waking up one morning and telling my mom I was bigger (felt like I had grown during the night)." What about other memories? "My family was always around. She (mom) was trying to provide a better life for me, I spent time with my other family." Tell the court did you become aware of gangs and how early in life? "As early as I can remember I was fascinated by gangs. They were the only male figures I knew. I looked up to my uncle. The type enviornment he was around was gang members. I seen good things. I seen bad things. Its united. Its an organiztion. They become lawless. I be on 69th street eating a burrito you see 2 people talking then it breaks out into an argument and 6 other guys get involved. You'd see hand-to-hand transactions. Mom tried to keep the gangs as far away from me as possible." That work? "When she was around but she was in school. Life was different when she wasn't around. When she was around I was in the house all the time, did my homework, be in bed at a certain time. She had strict rules. But when she wasn't around I was with my auntie but I wasn't her child. She wanted to live her life and not be tied down. So I was exposed to her life. We went to a party, to her boyfriend house, we ride the bus all over LA." Did you live in more than one house in LA? "There were 2. They were in South Central." Were you born in LA? "Yes sir. I was 8 or 9 when we left."
You heard the last 2 witnesses. Did you see any gang violence? "Yes sir. I seen when Marvin got shot (my auntie's boyfriend) I seen a couple fights on 69th street. Some on our street. Be times when I'd ride my bike down the street hear popping (shooting)and might see a drive by. Its different when you live right there. Its part of life. I saw people use guns. You see people getting shot at but don't know if they got hit or hurt." Give us an example of what you saw. "I was sitting on the steps at an apartment on 69th street, my uncle was there. Two dudes started arguing. You got raised voices next thing you know its 6 dudes beating up on him. I think the situation with Marvin was gang related." Talk about the different gangs in LA. "I was most familiar with Cryps. When you grow up out there your family will be associated with one side or another. It was Bloods and Cryps."
You spend any time with Uncle Charles. "Yea if my auntie wasn't around my uncle took care of me. Everybody took care of me." Who was the most influential male in your life? "Uncle Charles. My other uncle was in prison. No other man like him. He was the only male figure I seen in the home. He was a member of Cryp." What is gang business? "Not a certain type business, its an organization, its family. Some might hussle, sell drugs, steal, break in. You got to have a way to get it." Anybody have regular jobs? "Terrell worked and always had a job. That's my cousin, my godmother's ex-husband." Did most of the gang members you know participate in illegal activities? "Yes sir. When I was younger I didn't know what a hand-to-hand was (exchange money and drugs at the same time). I saw that several times. Charles sold drugs. He made good money. He kept his stash in mother's garage. Bank rolls, $100's $50's. I, was with him. He never warned me to keep quiet." Ever see him get into a verbal argument. "Yes. It didn't last long. A lot of people feared my uncle. He got pull. Lot of young people looked up to him. He was older, solid muscle. He had a short temper. That was my uncle, my guy."
First witness called to the stand for the defense this morning is Wanda Jackson.
"I am related to Jamal Woods. I am his mother's sister, his aunt. I live in Los Angeles, California. I lived close to Jamal when he was born. We lived at San Pedro and 87th, its the east side." How long had Jamal and his mother lived there before they moved? "9 or 10 years." Did you have a close relationship with Jamal? "He called me nanny and I called him Poo Poo. I took care of him while his mother went to school. He would go to work with me. I was a daycare teacher. He was in my class. His mom went to South West College, she majored in psychology. She finished her degree and graduated." You've told the address where you lived. Is that an area affected by the street gang culture? "Yes. I lived with Jamal and his mother for a time. I had been living with my sister since I was 1, 2 years old." You know CHarles Davis? "He's my brother. From time to time he lived with us. My brother was affiliated with the street gang culture. Charles was "Too Cool" He had a lot of power he was from the 6-9 East Coast Gang. He had a lot of authorit, y. They would call him "OG" (Original Gangster). He pretty much had a lot of say so. They would come to him. He was the leader." Mr. Davis in the home? "Never gone he was always in and out." Ever in prison? "He went to jail but never did a long time. Ye, s he had been in jail." While you were providing care for Jamal what sort of acitivites the 2 of you would engage in. (I object to this point. Mr. Morgan is leading terribly. I object to the leading question.) "Me and Jamal, me being a preschool teacher him in my class, there was no gang culture. Me and Jamal would hang together. If it was Friday, we went to a party. He went everywhere I sent. I hung with him. That's where he grew up. That's all I knew. I got some pictures where I took him to parties. He did everything I did. We went to picnics, car shows, beach parties. I was 18, 19 years old that's all I knew. He had to go with me." You made reference to "it." I was talking about gang members. I had a boyfriend, Tyrone, who is in jail right now. He hung with and I was in a gang. He was right there with me. I was the babysitter. He had to do what I did. I let him stay where I did. He probably picked up some bad habits." You still member of a gang? "No I'm older now. I was when Jamal was younger." Was Jamal a member of the gang? "Yes. He started young. Then when you get older age, some people don't want to change their life. My brother didn't change his." Any event that might have contributed to Jamal and his mother moving from LA? "A lot was happening. My brother got killed by some gang members. A few minutes after he was killed, we all went there, and in that period of time my brother was going through something. In those last 3-6 months he spent m, ore time knowing what was going on in the street, with the gang members stuff like that." Did you move out of the home before the death of Mr. Davis? "Yes. It was like 4-5 months. I moved out. I was 25 having a baby. It was my first baby I wanted to move out on my own. Charles continued to live in the home." You provided a lot of care for Jamal while his mom was in school. "When I moved out my brother took care of Jamal. Susan and Jamal moved out of LA because somebody killed my brother. We knew it was somebody close. Things started to get wild. Me and my sister are 2 different people. She's one way, I'm the other. It was always flooded with people. She said I got to get out of here." Did she try to keep gang influence out of her home? "She did everything, from the punishment. I tried to follow her lead be like her, I got degrees and stuff but didn't actually stay in school. There was a couple of times she came here on vacation. I had partie, s with gang members in her house. She tried everything to stop it. Its like pressure you don't have any kind of pull. IF you don't be friends with the gangs, it causes problems for you. You come outside your car is gone." Are you telling the jury to escape the gang culture? "Yes she wanted to raise Jamal in a different way. She sent him to California to spend the summer with me. I sent him back in 2 weeks. If it wasn't dangerous he would still be in LA. When he was out there, he went to the store with one of my kids daddys, he was talking about a high speed chase he was laughing. To him, it was fun. I told him I'm not calling your mom to tell her something had happened. I sent him back in 2 weeks." Did Jamal observe various gang activities? "No."
Cross examine by Don Rizzardi. 'What was the name of the gang? "69 East Coast. 69 for the streets its on. East Coast for the side. I was a member for maybe 12-15. You have to fight a whole bunch of girls to get in. You can't win. You can't fall down and give up." How did you get out. "You don't really get out, you move on with your life." Your still in? "If you want to call it, nothing i had to do to get out. If you want to say that. " How did Jamal get there (in a gang). "I said the idea of Jamal, the way he is." Let's talk about gang activities, parties, beach parties car show. That sounds like a tea party. "When its the 6th day of the 9th month, they have a picnic. They don't just shoot and do drive bys. I never did a drive by so I don't know." Does it have certain levels or classes? "What you mean?" If you are in a gang its one for all, all for one. "A gang is somebody that can protect you. Its like your other family." From what? "Something you can't handle. You might want somebody else to handle it." Gangs provoke lawlessness? "Oh yea of course they break the law." What legal things do gangs do? "Nothing. Today, its a different kind of gang. Some go to school now. Its not like when I grew up." DO they brainwash you? "Oh yea. The only way they do that is they think they love you when they don't. The gang is your other family. That's what a gang is. You go there for the fun but the fun becomes a problem." The 3 years you were active in the gang did you loose self control? "Yes I still do that today. I don't think about the consequences until after its done. I may have a pen I'm writing with and I know I didn't pay for it. I'm a grown woman now. You can exercise self control but it depends on the situation." Am I disrespecting you now? "By waving at me, no. IF you keep doing it I'm going to think something is wrong with you. If I speak to you and you are still standing there you got a problem. If somebody speak to me is that disrespectful no. If you speak and keep going that's a different story. If you keep waving and I don't know you, what's wrong with you? That's crazy." You said your sister did everything she could to get Jamal out? "yea. She threw Charles out a few times." What kind of gang activities at the day care? "None. That's where I worked. Professional people there. Why would gang activity be where preschoolers are at. Now, some stuff can happen but this is little kids we talking about." Your boyfriend, Tyrone known as OG, do you believe anybody by the initials is an Original Gangster. Is it possible they go by OG and it doesn't stand for Original Gangster "No. You trying to twist me. Thats what it means to anybody who knows gangs." (objection by defense based on badgering the witness). Maam OG can have various meanings? "No where I come from it means Original Gangster."
Let me make a quick correction/addition to yesterday's blog. The correct name and spelling of Jamal Woods godmother is Guadelupe Valesco.
Jamal Woods just took at seat at , the defense table this morning. He is dressed in a white vest, black shirt and tie. His mother, Susan Davis and his wife Rotesia Woods are also present in the courtroom.
February 9, 2009
Court is dismissed for the day. Further testimony from the defense will begin at 9 am Tuesday morning.
Next on the stand, Jamal's godmother Guadelupe Valesco. "I've known Jamal Woods since birth. I am his godmother. I lived in California at one time. Jamal lived in South Central Los Angeles. He was like 7, , or 8 when the family moved away." In that period of time, born to where he moved, did you have contact? "Yes." Frequency and nature? "I used to take care of him when he would get out of school, the weekends. He was like my child." Was there any street gang influence? "Yes. It wasn't good. You had the Crips and 69 Stree, t Crips. You couldn't wear certain color on one side of the city. It wasn't good. They were on every corner hanging out." Were you married? "I was. I was married to Terrell Nealon. He was a member of the Crips street gang." You were selected to be Jamal's godmother. "We went through a church ceremony. Mr. Nealon was not there. Someone else is his godfather (didn't catch that name either)." In that period of time, you took care of him did Jamal have contact with Mr. Nealon? "Yes." And his godfather? "Yes." Tell the jury the nature of the communication between Jamal and a street gang function. "He lived in the neighborhood. He would stay with me, you go outside they were there. You have to be careful when you are living out there. In the house, there's drive by shootings. Take care of the kids. Lot of the drug selling goes on today. He lived in the neighborhood where it was at. He would come from school, play outside. He couldn't avoid it." Did you ever observe situations where Jamal was exposed to gang violence. "Not that I remember. Just living in it you hear the gunshots, people selling drugs." Let's talk about the gang culture. "Yes. They have to respect you. If they didn't you got to do what you got to do. Somebody would come up to him, from a gang, he would act like an adult gang member. They think gang members are roll models. Gang members want respect. They want that whatever they do be respected. If they tell you not to do it and you don't, you have consequences. They will come and get you." Ever see a situation where a particular gang member was shown disrespect and he didn't take care of it. "Yes they will beat you up, take whatever is in your possession that is worth something." Did you know Charles Davis? "Jamal's uncle. He was a member of the 69th Street Crypts." Did you ever see Charles with Jamal? "Yes. He is Jamal's uncle, mother's brother. Was Charles always around? "No." He did time in prison? "Yes." During the time he wasn't in prison was Jamal around him? "He would come over he wanted to see his uncle, hang out with him, he would cry, pitch a fit, if he couldn't." Jamal was 7 or 8 when the family relocated. Anything happen before then? "They shot and killed his uncle (gang relted)." You recognize this? "Charles Davis obituary. The photograph is of Charles. I attended the funeral. Don't remember if Jamal was there." Can you see if the content of that document has been altered? Does it accuratly depict the photo and obit? "Yes it does." It talks about a lot of people that have been left behind. Read until the end. "The one devoted Jamal Woods, nephew, host of cousins, family and his East Coast 69 Gang Family." How long before after Jamal's uncle died did the family move? "Less than a month." How did Charles die? "I think it was a set up. He was shot up execution style. It was really bad." Ever see Jamal out with Charles at social events? "Yes they would go to the store, get something to eat, pick up my husband, hang out." Did you enjoy family times with other gang members? "We also had social events, sometimes hang out. He was always there." Do you know why Susan (Jamal's mother) moved out of LA? "Yes she didn't want him to grow up in that neighborhood because of what happened to her brother. She didn't want that to happen to her son."
Cross examine by prosecutors? 'You been a member of a gang? "No. My husband got out of a gang when we got married. I don't know when he started. We were married like 10 years." Why did he leave? "Everybody started going their seperate ways in the gang. If you want out of a gang you got to fight your way out. They will kill you one. Lot of t, hem sold drugs." Did he ever take Jamal along with the gang? "Not that I remember." What else does a gang do? "Hang out, drink, do drugs some."
The state rested its case about an hour ago. Its time now for the defense to put on its witnesses.
The first witness called to testify for the defense is Dr. Adell Shaker. You may remember his testimony for the prosecution last week. Dr. Shaker is an expert witness.
'Let me ask you some questions please Dr. Shaker. We had a chance to communicate over the weekend. "Yes sir." Hospital records of Thurston Turner have been admitted into evidence as state's exhibit 206. This shows the treatment of Mr. Turner. On Saturday did you receive some copies of documents that appeared to be from Huntsville Hospital concerning treatment of Mr. Turner? "Yes sir. I looked into them." You did the autopsy on both bodies. "Yes." Today we are talking about Mr. Turner's autopsy. You are a pathologist. Is your concentration different than that of a treating physician. "I open to see like a surgeon. Regular doctors don't open and see." As a result of the examination of Mr. Turner you submitted a report of autopsy. "Yes this is the report for the late Mr. Turner. It was submitted in late August 2007. I had also looked at his other medical records. I have seen the medical records prior to that date. When we faxed to you copies over the weekend had you seen the previously? "Yes sir." We offer defendants exhibit #14 into evidence. You've testified to several matters on the front of that report, manner and cause of death. "Yes." Has your conclusion on either changed? "No way. I am sticking to my analysis." You studied the hospital records on Mr. Turner. "Yes." You've given testimony to the injuries by Mr. Turner. They were severe right? "Yes." As a part of those injuries he suffered damage to his main artery. "There was a laceration to the artery." Is it fair to say Mr. Turner is losing blood from the artery? "Exactly." There has been testimony that Mr. Turner lost an awful lot of blood on the scene. He was given fluids, CPR. Do your records show that? "Yes." Could you characterize the loss of blood from his injuries? "He lost an ample amount of blood. That is why he got fluids at that time." I've seen references to embolization. "Introducing various substances into the circulation of blood vessel with the aim of cutting the blood supply to a certain area of the body."
The State of Alabama has rested its case. Defense attorneys will call their first witness after a 20 minute break.
The State of Alabama told the judge they rest their case. Larry Morgan objected to the state's motion to rest. The jury has been sent out of the courtroom --again! It appears the objection has to do with cross examination. The defense is making their case to the judge on the grounds of the judge granting several motions.
Don Rizzardi...'All the evidence came from the witness stand. Tank Beavers and Thurston Turner were both shot in the head. We ask that you deny the defense's motion to continue."
The judge did deny the request to continue. Court is now taking a short break.
We continue to wait while the jury watches the video tape inside TGI Friday's the night of the shooting. There are a number of people present inside the courtroom. Friends and family of the victims as well as members of Jamal's family.
Woods is sitting in court behind the jury with his attorneys and security guards. He is watching the video along with the courtroom.
Prosecutors are about to play a video for the jury. Jamal Woods is seated in the courtroom behind the panel, with his attorney and extra security, so he can view the tape.
The video is surveillance footage inside TGI Friday's the night of the shooting. You can see customers and employees milling around the front lobby for several minutes. Entering the restaurant at different times is Tank Beavers, Tory Rogers, Tim Reliford, Thurston Turner, Tasha and Miranda Lucas. You also see Jamal Woods, Rotesia Woods, Chauncey Davis and Brandon Rucker enter. The video then goes to a large group of customers, some church goers coming in for dinner after Sunday night services. Then you see that same group run out of the front door. Seconds later, you see Jamal Woods running out of the door behind them. The next frame shows where Woods and his party was sitting at their table before the shooting happened (to show relivence of location inside restaurant). Then the camera flips over to the bar where you see one of the victims fall off the bar stool. You do not see video of the victims at the bar getting shot or of Jamal Woods pulling the trigger. That part of the crime scene is out of range of the restaurants camera.
Court is back in session. Before we went to break the prosecution wanted to introduce evidence of letters written by Jamal Woods in jail. A Madison County Assitant Jail Administrator, Lt. Bill Hancock, collected the letters. Defense Attorney Larry Morgan objected to the handling of the letters. Morgan aruges the handling of the letters was taken from the assistant jail administrator and delivered to a handwritting expert by Assistant DA Shauna Barnett. Prosecutors argue this would make Barnett part of the "chain of custody" for that evidence and because of that she could be called as a witness to testify. The defense then made a motion for a mistrial but it was denied.
'Don Rizzardi...'Her testimony could be garnered. Chain of custody doesn't speak to the issue at hand, whether Jamal Woods is guilty of capita murder and 2 counts of attempted murder."
Larry Morgan....'2 fine men have died, 2 others injured. Everything they offer goes to impose the death penaly against my client. Lawyers should no, t act as an advocate in trial according to law. We become aware of it at that time. We are going to call this prosecutor as a witness. The jury is going to pick up on everything in this case. The jury is not dumb. We have the same objection to mistrial because the defendants exhibit was provided to us this morning. She said it was her own production. That's not a mere informality. The rules are substantial. If she goes ahead with it, we may all have to be called. I am not going to be inviolation. I will remove myself from this case. The state has put me in that position. If they proceed with those letters I will withdraw.'
Don Rizzardi...."That case of chain of custody, such as money such as drugs. We are talking about letters which speak for themselves. These were handwritten letters we expect the evidence to show came straight from the defendant. We submit the rules and case law is clear."
The jury is now seated.
Court is in recess until 1:00. The judge is taking up objections by the defense and the prosecution. Defense attorneys do not want some 2 dozen letters written by their client, Jamal Woods, and his girlf, riend Tara Blackmon entered into evidence. The letters were sent from the Madison County Jail. They say if the letters are allowed Assistant D, A Shauna Barnett would have to take the stand. They argue that could taint a jury pool at which point the case could end in a mistrial. Judge Laura Hamilton says she is going to err on the side of caution and not allow the letters for now. She is also taking into consideration prosecutors argument to enter them into evidence.
Court is recessed until 1:00 to allow the judge time to consider.
One juror is absent from testimony today. She is home sick with a fever.
State calls its first witness of the morning, Lt. Bill Hancock, Assistant Jail Administrator with the Madison County Jail. "I have worked there 11 years. I'm a retired Marine, 30 years." You know Jamal Woods? "Jamal is an inmate in the Madison County Jail." This is state's exhibit 180-189. Take a look at those. What are they? "Inmate request forms and grieveance forms. They are used for inmates to complain about issues with the jail. The inmate who receives the form, the officer and eventually it comes to me. This form was filled out by Jamal. It was a complaint. He signed the form." What did you do with the forms? "This document was handed directly to me, the others go through, the administrative chain." What did you do with those documents? "Initial at the bottom. Turned them over to your office (Given to Shauna Barnett)."
Cross examine by Larry Morgan. 'When you were in the Marines you retired Command Sgt. Major? "Yes sir. Its the highest rank." Is it part of your duty to obtain these records and secure them. "Yes." I showed you defendants exhibit #12. Take a look at it and tell the jury what it is. "The MC incident report is completed by an officer for any event that occurs in the jail, inmate related or not." Those documents relate to one particular incident. "There's 2 uses of force. One that took place on 11/18/07 at 22:00. A second that took place 11/18/07 at 17:30." These reports talk about a lot of things beween Jamal and detention officers. He gave a reason for his behavior. "He was upset because his mother came to visit and she wasn't allowed. This second one was when Derick Strickland was disrespectful to his mother." What was the act of disrespect? "I don't recall." Jamal was disciplined? "Yes." He was charged with felony assault? "I don't recall."
After some diligent searching, I was able to locate partial testimony from Rotesia Woods that had been deleted last week. Woods is the wife of Jamal Woods, who is on trial for capital murder. Rotesia was questioned by prosecutor Shauna Barnett.
"I've been married to Jamal since 2004. We have 2 boys, Jamal age 3 and Jamen age 4. Me, Jamal, his buddies Chauncey Davis and Brandon Rucker went to eat dinner at TGi Fridays that night (of the shooting). We sat down at the table. Tory (Rogers) came in the door and waved. Later Tank (Beavers) threw up his hand. Jamal asked me if I knew them, why they kept speaking to me. He said it must be something they way they keep waving at you. I told him it ain't like that. I knew Tory and Tank from school. Jamal looked like he was upset, mad. He got up from the table and went outside. I told Brandon to check on him. Brandon came back inside the restaurant but Jamal didn't. Jamal came back in about 10 minutes later. He went to the bar. Next thing I know I heard gunshots." What was your reaction? "I was scared. I was surprised. Jamal is a jealous person." Do you know a woman by the name of Tara Blackmon? "Yes she is a femal friend of Jamals." What is her nickname? "Red." Is she Jamal's girlfriend? "She was Jamal's mistress but I never met her." What about after the shooting. What happened then? "I ran out of the restaurant with Brandon and Chauncey. We made it to the Hampton Inn." When the police questioned you, what did you do? "I liked to the police the first time but then I changed my statement to tell the truth. I was scared of going to jail. What was your husbands occupation? "Mmmmm....he was a drug dealer."
February 6, 2009
A quick thank you to those of you reading my blog. I apologize that Rotesia Woods testimony is no longer posted. Apparently technical issues somehow deleted what I had written. And of course, I didn't save a backup copy. I will dig through my notes and try to repost snipts.
The jury has gone home for the day. Testimony resumes at 10:00 Monday morning.Hope everyone has a great weekend!
Dr. Adel Shaker, a Forensic scientist is testifying for the state. He is being questioned by Madison County Assistant District Attorney Don Rizzardi. Dr. Shaker is an expert witness for the state.
'What do your duties involve? "I examine the unnatural death cases to determine the cause of death.' Where were you born? "Egypt." I performed autopsy on Tank Beavers and Thurston Turner. Mr. Beavers autposy done at Huntsville Lab. I performed it that morning at 10:15 hours. We do external exam of the body to document any injuries. We do an xray for foreign bodies and we do external and internal body. we open the cranial cavity, chest cavity and body cavity. We opened to see what organs have been affected by the trauma or injury." Did you do those things to Tank Beavers? "Yes I did." Are you assisted by anybody? "It can be one or 2." What are these? "Pictures of the autopsy performed on Mr. Beavers." During the look at the body what type injuries? "I seen an entrance gun shot wound to the outer corner of the eye. Their were stibling marks or gun powder residue embedded in the tissue of the skin." You used a phrase called stibling. This is state's exhibit #31, 30, 84, 85, 86. Do you find evidence of the stibling you are talking about? "The stibling is clear in every photo." What would stibling look like? "Small tiny red dots left from gun powder residue." In your 7,000 autopsy you seen stibling in the past? "Yes." In this case of Mr. Beavers can you tell us the range he was shot? "Minimum 6 inches to a maximum of 2 1/2 feet." If he were shot from more than 4 feet you wouldn't see it? "No way." What did you do next? "I took photograph of gun shot wound of entrance and exit. I had to remove the hair to show the gunshot wound of exit." The photos I just saw you show an entry wound? "Yes. This is the entrance wound at the outer corner of the eye. You can see stibling marks." Do you see stibling marks to the back of Mr. Beavers head. On me can you point where the exit wound would be. "The right side of the back of the head." As the bullet entered the skull of Mr. Beavers any damage to bone? "Extensive bone the bullet is fracturing the outer rim of the orbital cavity resulting in severe head injury. It resulted in hemorrages on the right cerebral hemisphere, laserating the gray matter of the brain. Exiting out of the back of the head." In regards to the late Mr. Beavers see any other damage on the body? "No." We removed the organ and brains. We saw severe fracture at the base of the skull. This is the exit, fracture to the right fracture to the left. I examine every organ one-by-one, from the head to the pelvic cavity." See any problems with the heart? "No significant changes in any of his internal , organs." That counts lungs, kidneys liver none of that. "The autopsy tool around 2 1/2 hours." Does your office have a particular manual? "We have standard of procedures." Did you follow them? "Yes I did." Were you able to determine the cause of death. "Gun shot wound to the head. Manner of death, homicide."
'Let's move to the second autopsy on Thurston Turner. "I got him December 27, 2006. His body was brought to forensics from Huntsville Hosptial morgue. I did the same external and internal examination. I had assistance as well on this body. I was in charge of the autopsy. I documented his wounds, entrance and exit on the left side. I took pictures, did an xray, did cavitiy exam." What were his injuries? "At the left side their was a surgical stitch wound. This was the gun shot wound here. Their was an exit on the upper side of the back." This is states exhibit #34. Did you take? "Yes. He has swollen head, hands feet. Extreme swollen tissue of the face. This is from fluids given in hospital. They gave it to him because he blood profusely. They try to replace what he lost." We offer into evidence state's exhibit 34-39. No objections. Does that show the entry wound? "Yes upper left lip here." When you did your internal investigation you said the wound was to the mouth/upper lip/back. You also told about an injury to a major artery. "It entered the left side. It fractured the body of the mandible on the left side. It also lacerated the tongue. Their was no signifcant changes except to the brain. Their was liquid in the brain or dead brain on the left side. That injury was brought on by a severe injury. Because of the theraputic treatment in the hospital as a result of the gunshot wound. Nothing unusual about his organs? "No." How long did the autopsy last? "4 hours. It was a lot to do. We have to clean up the body to see what is going on (remove medical lifesaving devices). Cause of death was gunshot wound to the face. Manner of death homicide. After autopsy we released the body back to the families, ."
Cross examine by Larry Morgan. 'Is part of your autopsy that you receive samples of body fluids? "yes. We take fluid, blood, urine." What purpose? "Toxocology analysis for alcohol and drugs." When you obtained the samples, in this case Mr. Beavers. "I did. I ensured they were not contaminated. We have a chain of custody and I stick to that." "The report shows alcohol in Mr. Beavers body. We found a high level of alcohol. .08 is legal .101. It is high." You said you took blood samples and urine. Three different levels here. "Urine similar to the blood."
Bobby Berryhill on stand. He is the coroner of Madison County and is the owner of Berryhill Funeral Home. Don Rizzardi, "Mr. Berryhill think back to 12/17/06. Were you coroner then? "I was. I examined the wound to a black male. It was a gun shot wound to the head. I removed the body from the scene to Barryhill funeral home. Forensics picked it up the next day."
Investigator David Owens back on the stand to testify. 'How many witnesses did you interview in this case? "I spoke with 4 at the scene, best I can recall." Did you meet Tara Blackmon? "Yes I did." Can you tell the jury what you were looking for when you searched her apartment? "Firearm, 9 mm gun, ammo, clothing the defendant was wearing. We didn't find it. The search was on the 18th" She gave you something?, "On March 20, 2007. She gave me 21 handwritten letters written to her from Jamal Woods from the Madison County Jail. She turned them over to me. We made the DA's office aware. She have a nickname? "Yes. Red." Search the residence of Jamal Woods? "2621 Blue Springs Road. That was done via search warrant. We were looking for the same as before. Anything related to the crime." FInd anything? "Weapon or clothing, no." Which address is closest to Friday's? "Candlewood address where Ms. Blackmon lives." Were tapes made of the restaurant? "Yes." Have you reviewed those tapes? "Time stamp is off." What time did the shooting happen? "First call is at 9:13 pm." Can you tell by watching the video say the shooting happened? "21:48:50 approx 36 minutes off." When you watch the video, see Jamal enter a second time, how much time lapses from when you see customers start to react? "1 minute 2 seconds." Have in your notes there how long Jamal was gone from when he left until he came back. "11 minutes and 23 seconds."
'You don't know where Mr. Woods went? "No." I know their has been a lot of hinting about time. You don't know where he went. "Not when he left the restaurant. No." Everything you do you take notes about. "Yes sir." These are your reports you authored in this case. "Yes that's mine." Any occassions you didn't submit a report? "Specifically yes. I can't think of what it is." You did lots of interviews in the first 24 hours. "Yes." You and Investigator Leftwich interviewed most of the people in the restaurant. "Yes." When you interviewed Tasha Lucas did you tape it? "Naw she approached me shortly after I got to the restaurant." She testifiefd she wrote a statement, she was in a hurry. You rush her through? "I can't remember if she wrote it before or after." You heard Jamal Woods pointed a gun at her sister's face. "Yes I remember hearing that in court. I was not told that incident occured. She did not tell me in my interview with her." Any reason to believe what she told you in this report isnt true? "No sir." No where in that written statement does she mention the gun being pointed at her or her sister.You have no other evidence from any other witness? "Right."
Norman Rogers now on the stand for the prosecution. He's dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit. 'Where you currently live? "Department of Corrections." You know Jamal Woods? "2-3 years." How did you meet him. "Through a friend." You see Jamal on December 17/18? "Yes. I met him at a hotel. He called me and said come see him. He didn't say why." What was the purpose to meet him. "I didn't know at the time." You talk to investigators? "Yea." Did you talk to police on December 18th. "Yes." What car did you drive that night? "White Caprice." Did Jamal get in your car? "Yes." Were you stopped. What happened after you were stopped. "They took me in for questioning." Do you see the interviewers who did the questioning in the courtroom? "Don't remember." You and Jamal talk? "Just ask him what was up? He told me to take him to get his car." He say why? "Not really." You want to hear the tape of your interview to refresh your memory? "Jamal was trying to get somebody to drive him. He called around. He said he shot some people. Said I didn't want to hear about it." Why did he tell you he shot the people. " I don't know. I said I didn't want to hear it." Is that what you told police? (sends jury out for second time in less than 2 minutes to once again listen to tape statement).
This is a snipet of that recording played in court but not in front of the jury."What happened man? "We got in the car was at a restaurant eating. Said he got into it with some fellas. Some shots got fired. That's it." You ask if anybody got hit? "He said one person got hit. He didn't get any detail." What was the name of the restaurant? "He didn't tell me that." He have a gun on him? "No sir." Straight up? "I didn't see no gun." You go to anybody else's house? "No sir." Help him get rid of the handgun? "No sir." Say anything about his wife? "Not really. Just said she was under investigation." She was? For what? "Didn't say. Just said the police had her."Say what they got into it about? "Somebody was disrespecting his wife." How do you know Jamal? "Know through a friend." How long have you known him? "2-3 years." Say anything about the handgun, what he did with , it. You got the gun. "No." Can we search your car? "Yes sir. I already did that." You know where he was going with the car? "No he didn't tell me. He was giving directions in the car." See any blood on him? "No sir." Say anything about somebody , being shot. "He said yes one person. He say somebody got shot. He didn't say he shot him." Never told you he did the shooting? "No sir. Told him I didn't want to know nothing." Ever known him to shoot anybody or have a handgun. "No sir." Anything else you, need to tell us about that you forgot? "No sir."
'You heard the rest of the tape.,, Refresh your memory? "Yes. Jamal just said somebody disrespected his wife." Do you know Tory Rogers. "Say we are cousins but don't know." Did you know Tory was shot, ? "Not at the time."
Cross examine by Larry Morgan. 'A witness before you came in, Ms. Summers, that name familiar to you? "N, o sir." She said she called Jamal for dope. Were you there when he was on the phone? "No I was driving." Did Ms. Summers initiate , a call to him? "Possibly." When you caught up with Mr. Woods were was he that night. "La Quinta Inn. He was standing outside the hotel. It was in the parking lot." Did you recognize Jamal? "Yes. I drove over to him." What did he first tell you? "I don't remember." You didn't , see blood on him? No weapons? "No." You came to know there was some trouble. Someone had been shot. He made the comment that 'why did that shooting happen? "He just said somebody disrespected my wife." How did he appear to you? "He was pretty calm." Angry or out of control? "No." Did Jamal say or do anything that was a threat to you? "No." He was just giving you directions on where to turn? "Yes."
10:15 am, P>
Kemyetta Summers next on the stand. 'You know Jamal Woods?' "Yes" Why did you contact Woods? "I called to get some powder, you know cocaine. I called him from my ex-husband's house. I called after 2 in the morning. He said he would get me the powder. I didn't have cash to pay him. Somebody else was going to pay him." Did you work out another exchange with him? "No." Did you talk to the defendant? "Yes. He told me he would get it for me if I drove a car for him. I had seen the car a few times. It was a black and white car or something. I agreed to that deal. He told me to meet him somewhere, follow him, and he would get the , cocaine for me. I met him off of Holmes near some apartments." Remember where? "I can't remember where in the projects. Close to the downtown. I was with 2 friends of mine. Jamal was in a car with somebody. I got in the car with him. I got in the backseat. We went to go get his car. We went down Holmes toward Jordan Lane near a gas station. I don't exactly remember where. It was near the gas station. Jamal's car was parked in front of a house. I got out, got in Jamal's car. He handed me the keys. We went back down Holmes and up by the hospital." He tell you where he was going? "Say drop the car off at a females house. I got out went to a neighbors door. I didn't know them. I got nervous and scared. I went to the door, turned around went back to the car when I saw the police across the street. When I pulled off the police got behind me. They told me to get out of the car. I went to the precinct with the police, gave them an interview. , I was not arrested." How long were you in the car with Jamal. "Maybe 5 minutes." His demeanor? "It was normal. He was quiet."
Cross examine by Alan Mann. 'Were you arrested? "No." Been in court before? "Yes First degree robbery. It was dismissed. I have marijuana pending." In this county? "Yes. Its a city charge." Have you been promised any deals for testifying? "No." You called Jamal and asked for a sack. "I asked for whatever the people had the money for. The people I was, with wanted powder. The powder was for us." You called him at 2 in the mornig to get it. "I called from my ex-husbands house. There were 3 of us." Ever called that time of the morning? "Yes." How well you know Jamal? "3-4 years. I met him through some female friends." Ever have an argument with Jamal? "No sir. We were friends." Was it unusual for you to pick up his car? "Yes." You said you met up with Jamal? "Off of Holmes. The friends I was with took me there to meet him. The officer said he saw you on Thornton Avenue and saw you knock on the door. Who lived there? "I don't know. It was late. I just went to the door. Acted like I was knocking on the door. I got nervous when I saw the police." Nobody came to the door? "No sir." You said Mr. Woods told you to go to a females house. You know that person? "No sir." Were you following somebody? "Mr. Woods. His car kept going when I pullled in the drive way." You did an interview with Investigator Leftwich. "Yes." The housing project on Holmes is where you met? "Yes." Was your ex-husband going to pay for the sack? "No sir."
Ricky Stevens, Huntsville Police officer is now on the stand for the prosecution. "I work 3rd shift." Were you working on December 17, 18th? Did you get a BOLO from dispatch. "Yes we were told to be on the look out for a Chevy Caprice. It was related to the black Chevell. I was north on Whitesburg Drive. I saw the Caprice in that area. I got behind the car. Officer Campbell got me. As soon as the light turned green, we hit our blue lights. The car stopped at 3001 Whitesburg at a church. I approached the drivers side vehicle. I spoke with the driver, asked for identification. He was nervous. I pulled him out of the car. He did have identification. Officer Campbell deal, t with the passenger. Investigator Owens responded shortly after the stop. The stop happened around 2 am. I filed a report."
'You stopped a white caprice. It was a 4 door 90's model. After we had drivers written consent to search it, we did." Find anything? "Clothing. No weapon." Do you remember the name of the driver? "Somebody named Norman." What was his demeanor. " His voice was a little shaky." That's not necessarily a sign of being nervous. "Mmmm guess so. He didn't say much. I ask him for a license. He came up with them. His body movement you could tell something was wrong. Having to look for his license not sure where they were at." That Norman subject was Norman Rogers. Did Mr. Rogers offer resistance to you? "No sir." Did you pay any attention to the passenger in that vehicle? "No not really. I wasn't aware of the situation. I was focused on the driver." You recognize the passenger? "Yes. He is the person next to you (at the defense table)."
February 5, 2009
Next on the stand, Chauncey Davis.
"I live in Madison County. I go to school at Drake. I know Jamal Woods. He is a mutual friend."
Think back to 12/17/06.
"I was at Friday's restaurant. I went with Jamal, his wife and friend Brandon Rucker. He wanted to take his wife out to eat. He invited us to go with him."
You have money?
"No, Jamal said he would pay."
What time you get there?
"Around 8 or a little after. It was dark outside. We were there long enough to order and get the food to the table."
What about an argument at the table?
When did somebody speak to her?
"When we sat down. The person who spoke was at the bar. He waved at her and I looked to see who it was."
Show us what the person was doing.
He asked her who it was. She said, "It looks like a dude I went to school with."
Did Jamal leave the table?
"Wasn', t gone long. Maybe 10 minutes or so."
Did Brandon come back to the table.
Was Jamal with him? Describe how you observed him.
"Looked like something was on his mind. Not really angry."
You see a gun?
"No, I didn't."
Did you hear anything?
"Yes. I heard a gun click."
Heard it before?
"Yes. He walked up to the bar to talk to the men at the bar who spoke. I guess they were arguing. Yelled and asked Tesia if that was her cousin. She said something but I don't remember. I turned around to eat my food and I heard gun shots. I put my head down. I didn't hit the floor or anything. I didn't hear any more gunshots. I turned around he was gone. I heard 5 gunshots. We left the restaurant and then after sitting outside we left walking (Me, Tesia and Brandon). We made it to the Hampton. We walked. We didn't have a car. The police came with dogs and asked us if we just came from Fridays. We told them no. The waitress came and identified us at the hotel."
Go to the police station that night?
You lied about being at Fridays?
Were you arrested?
Where did Jamal live in 12/06?
"Off Blue Springs. Its about 10 minutes or 15 one way depending on how you drive."
Who is Red?
"Friend of Jamal's?"
Is that a boy or girl?
"Girl. I've seen her a few times with Jamal."
Ever been to Red's house?
"Yes, I believe that was her house?"
Been there with Jamal?
Tell us the location.
Closer to University Drive than Blue Springs?
"Yes. Takes about 5 minutes."
Cross examination begins by Larry Morgan.
Mr. Davis, In December, 2006 did you live with your grandmother?
"Yes, off Blue Springs."
Did she give our investigators card to Clay , Westgrove and ask to call him?
"Yes, I got like 3 different ones. I didn't call. I called one man, but said he was an attorney for Fridays."
A lot of people want to talk to you. A lot of lawsuits out there. You didn't want to talk to them?
"No, that's not it. I just didn't want to be involved for real."
You testified the four of you went to Fridays and you had no money and knew Jamal would pay?
How many times have you been out when Jamal was the host and paid?
"Two to 3 times."
When you came in, tell us where in TGI Fridays you were sitting.
"To the right by the windows. I was close to the door facing away from the bar."
How many waves at the bar did you see?
"Just that one. I was facing away from the bar area."
You can't say it didn't happen?
Was your attention drawn to the wave?
"Someone else in the party."
"He was sitting with us."
Who drew your attention?
"I heard them call her name. I don't know the names of the people though. They were at the bar. I looked up there."
How many waves did you see?
Did you know who waved?
Who was that person waving toward?
Hear someone call her name?
"I heard the first time. I told her didn't think it was anything. Said it looked like someone she went to school with. Just one person called her name. Spoke to her just that one time. Tesia told him it was someone she went to school with. Told that to Jamal. He asked who it was before she told him."
Do you remember the exact words that Jamal words said to Rotesia after the person waved and called her name.
"Asked, 'Who is that?'"
Hear him say, "What's that all about? You know those n******?"
"Yeah. Rotesia didn't say nothing."
She say, "Not like that?"
Jamal say anything after that?
Hear him say, "Not like that? What you mean, not like that?"
"Uh, I don't recall the whole conversation. I can't say he didn't say that."
Did you hear Rotesia say, "I went to school with one of them, Tank, he was a year behind me."
"I remember her saying she went to school."
You observed Jamal during the conversation. How long you known Jamal?
"Four to 5 months. That was the time I hung around him. I probably knew him longer. Like eight months."
Did you come to know Jamal's moods pretty well?
"Kind of, sort of. Didn't have a bad attitude. He was real cool towards me."
Jealousy towards Rotesia?
Observe anything about his mood at the table with Rotesia?
"He was real to himself, like he had something on his mind. He was sitting there just like thinking."
Did Jamal say anything to Rotesia like, "These n****** don't have no right to speak to you?"
Did you hear Rotesia say, "No, they didn't speak to me in school. Don't have a reason to speak now?"
"Don't recall. I didn't know how to speak to him. I didn't think he would listen to me."
You didn't ask him anything?
"No. I didn't know what to say."
He was getting upset?
"You can see it in there face. He was irritated."
Seen him irritated before?
"Can't say I have."
Before he left the restaurant, did he say anything to the people at the bar?
"[He said,] 'Chill out, that's my wife.'"
Did you hear someone at the bar said, "F*** an*****, you ain't s***?"
"I didn't hear it. They exchanged words. I don't know what the words were said."
Did you hear Jamal say, 'Slow your roll boy, I got the iron on you?"
Did you hear someone at the bar say, "F*** you, n*****"?
"I thought they blew it off."
After that exchange, you hear anything between Jamal and Rotesia?
Let me ask this. Did you hear any other conversation before he left the restaurant?
"Between him and Tesia? No."
What was Jamal's mood at that time before he left.
"He was real quiet. Didn't say anything."
Had you ever seen him get that way?
Let me back up. Do you remember what drinks were ordered by your party?
"No sir. Just what I had. I drank a Heineken. Jamal had something. Tesia ordered it but Jamal drank it."
Was there a round of drinks ordered?
"Just one. Jamal didn't have his ID on him."
He's quiet and reserved. Anything else happen between Jamal and Rotesia?
"She tried talking to him. He was in a daze. She was telling him she went to school with him. Trying to explain the situation. Jamal seemed like he believed her but not really. He was getting angry. He was quiet. You could tell he had stuff on his mind. I saw him get up and leave."
See him come back?
"Yes. He wasn't gone long. The food was arriving when he came back. Maybe 10 minutes."
Did you go outside when he did?
"No. Brandon went out to check on him. Tesia and I asked him to."
What was the need for you to tell Brandon to check on him.
"He was mad. I wanted to keep him from being mad."
Did Brandon go?
"I believe. Not 100 percent sure."
You say Jamal came back 10 minutes after that? In that time, did you hear anybody from the bar say anything to Rotesia? Wave at Rotesia?
"No, not after the first time."
When Jamal came back inside the restaurant, any communication between Jamal and Rotesia?
"I can't recall."
You remember Jamal saying, "You mean you don't know them?" and Rotesia say, "From the neighborhood?"
What di, d Jamal do?
"Went up to the bar."
What was the path he took?
"We were sitting to the end of the section we were in. Jamal walked behin, d me and up to the bar. I turned around when he asked her if it was her cousin. I thought that was it."
Did you hear any conversation between Jamal and the people at the bar?
You hear him say, "She's married. See that $3,000 ring on her finger?"
Chad Bryant, Huntsville Police Officer just took the stand.
"I was working the night of the shooting. I responded to TGI Friday's. I met up with Officer Rucker. We did a tracking with his K-9. I was a cover officer. The tracking led to the backside of the Hampton Inn then to the front. We found two black males and a blac, k female. We patted them down to make sure no weapons were found and checked ID's. I transported all three to South Precinct."
There were no questions by the defense.
Next on the stand, Huntsville Police Officer Jamey Rucker, K-9 Unit.
Were you working on 12/17/06?
"Yes, ma'am. I was at the old police academy when I got the call. My partner and dog Caesar and I headed that way."
This is state's exhibit 143. What is it?
"Map of University Drive."
Why did you go that way on December 17, 2006.
"I let my dog have a break. started headed that way. We have a felony tone on our radio. It lets you know its a serious call."
What did you do?
"I heard the call come out. I was approaching the l, ight at the overpass at the Parkway I went through the light headed north. I was getting more traffic on the radio. I cut on my code to get there quicker (running lights and sirens)."
Can you show where TGI Fridays is on the map for the jury?
"Yes. It is approximately in this area near the intersection of University and Holmes. It took me close to eight minutes to get there."
What did you see?
"I seen a few patrol cars on the west side of the building. It was chaos."
What did you do inside the restaurant?
"I first went in. I tried to assist the scene. Few officers there. Walked around to see if, I could help. Noticed a large number of people on the east side of the restaurant. Realized I couldn', t help much. HEMSI was there and [the fire department.] I talked to the waitress of the table."
Did you do a track with Caesar?
"Because of the nature of the call with a handgun, I got a cover officer to assist me. I established a game plan, then got my dog out and tracking leash."
What do y, ou do with Caesar when you want to track?
"I'll scan him back and forth until he picks something up. I knew there was a lot of traffic out front. I went midway to the building and cast him there. Caesar kept his head down and pulled real hard. Kept his nose to the ground and started digging real hard into the pavement. Then we started tracking from there. We tracked south just to get past TGI Fridays. K-9 started pulling me behind another building."
What did you do?
"I let him go. I held , the lead. He is pulling me hard. I'm holding back so he doesn't miss anything. He is digging in, wanting to go faster."
What was the parking lot like behind TGI Fridays?
"The dog cut left, eastbound. We cleared the parking spaces, grass, and another building. We kept heading eastbound."
This is state's exhibit 145. What is this?
"It's the closer up of a map. It's University Drive/Holmes/Boardwalk. That general area."
Where is TGI Fridays?
"This area right here."
Where did you track start?
"Started east side of the restaurant went south, cut eastbound behind several businesses, crossed grass heading east. Crossed more grass, got to the backside of the Hampton Inn."
What was Caesar's behavior?
"Nose to the ground, pulling me."
What is he smelling?
"The dog tracks on human scent and ground disturbance."
Did you have any clothing for the dog to smell?
(objection to the non-verbal speech of K-9)
Given your training, what scent is the dog picking up on?
"Human cells. Every time you walk, human cells fall off your body, adrenaline. I knew who I was looking for, with description. They were letting off plenty of odor. Skin cells fall off."
You testified he pulled you around to the backside of the Hampton Inn?
"Just west of Wynn Drive."
What did the dog do at the hotel?
"I knew my dog through training. He was on a track. We continued on the east side, cut north toward University Drive around the front of the Hampton Inn. As I approached the front, the dog made a right, headed west. As I cleared the corner I saw two black males and a black female. The dog's head shot up. That means he's close to the scent he was tracking. He got eye contact."
What is your response?
"I perk up. Our tracking lead is 15 feet. I start reeling him in to get a good handle on him. I got the dog off the collar. Officer Chad Bryant came around and asked questions."
Did you have interaction with these three people?
"I was holding the dog and he was ready to go."
Where in relation to the building were the three?
"In the front under the awning where people park. They were sitting down."
No questions by defense.
Next on the stand for the prosecution was Jason Banks, a neurosurgeon.
In December of 2006, did you treat or see Thurston Turner?
"Yes. I was the on-call neurosurgeon. Dr. Samtoka was originally the caregiver. Mr. Turner was a patient in ICU. He was gravely ill when I saw him. I examined him and noted him to be clinically brain-dead. I ordered a brain scan. It was done at Huntsville Hospital. The test identifies blood flow to his brain. The study showed he didn't have any. That means he is clinically brain-dead and passed away. Once clinical brain death, occurs he is officially deceased."
Cross , examination by Larry Morgan.
Did you see Mr. Turner on 12/17/06.
"I did not."
Did you review other medical records produced by others in the community? Do you recall in his records looking at a toxicology report?
"Not aware of that."
This is defendants exhibit No. 10. Do you recognize it? Reviewed it before?
"I recognize it. Its a lab report 12/17 at 22:19. Alcohol level at the time was .161. That means essentially he had been drinking and was legally drunk. .08 is the legal level."
There is some highlighting on it. Has this report been altered?
In the training and experience, have you learned about alcohol on the system?
"It can impair judgement."
Had any experience that would allow you to tell us a degree of impairment?
"Be quite difficult."
You are a neurosurgeon. What part of the brain is judgement generally controlled?
Is that the first part of the brain affected by beverage alcohol?
"Affects the entire brain."
Legal level is .08. More than that, you are legally intoxicated?
Had any training on the effects of alcohol on the brain?
"Not directly. No. It deals with tolerance to alcohol level medication or drugs."
Wyman Lee Turner, the father of shooting victim Thurston Turner, is now on the stand for the prosecution. He is being questioned by Madison County Assistant Dis, trict Attorney Don Rizzardi.
"I live in Athens. Been there all my life. I'm 56 years old. I'm married to Odell Turner. We been married 34 1/2 years. We got 3 boys. Andre Turner, Lyonel Turner and Thurston Turner."
Let's talk about Thurston first.
"He's dead. He died December 26, 2006. He died in Huntsville Hospital. He was there about nine days or something."
Look at this picture. Who is it?
"This is a picture of Thurston, my son. I was with him in the hospital. There was a cut place on the top portion of his lip. At one time the doctor said he made a movement and showed his teeth."
Talk to him?
"Oh, I talked to him but he didn't talk back. Sometimes you could see creases in his forehead like he was trying to show he could hear me. Thurston was 27 when he died."
Where was he working?
"At the time of his death he worked at Steel Case."
How long was he employed?
"Six to 8 months."
Prior to that time he worked in Memphis?
"Yes, he worked for Carrier Air Conditioning Service. He was doing a good job."
He eventually came back?
"Yes, and started with Steel Case. He lived with us when he came back."
What did Thurston like to do?
"I can speak for my son because he reminds me of myself. He loved sports, music, he was a dancer. He was like a resemblance of my own self. He played baseball, football, and basketball. He loved it. He was like Willie Mays. He was an outstanding person in this sport."
Ever cause trouble for you?
"No, just the usual childhood stuff"
Cross examination by Larry Morgan.
We are very sorry for your loss. We regret you have to be here. I hope by my questions you don't think we are trying to say anything bad about your son nor be disrespectful. When he went to work in Memphis, was that when Tank was playing ball?
They know each other?
There has been some testimony in this case.
You heard from Terrance Williams concerning a party they had the Saturday before the shooting?
"Yes, I recall that."
They were together, rented a cabin had some friends there that night. Do you recall that the testimony shows they were drinking?
Did you know your son to consume alcohol?
I do it too. I had a beer last night as well. What about cognac, Gray Goose Vodka?
"No sir. I remember the testimony though."
What about talk about consuming high-quality tequila.
"No sir. Never known him to drink that."
I want to ask you this, you said you had conversations with Thurston in the hospital but he never spoke to you.
No further questions. Thank you, Mr. Turner.
Turner was reexamined by the prosecution.
Mr. Turner, tell us about your son being in the hospital.
"Talking to him we felt like he could hear us. What gave us the greatest glory was a tear came down out of his eye. That gave us hope he was still alive."
That all stopped the last day.
"No movement. No nothing. I could sense that. It was different. After five or six days, things changed. We told the doctors to turn off life support."
Does Thurston has children?
"Yes. He left a boy and a girl. And he was a godfather."
How old were the children at the time of the incident?
"In 2006, they was 6 and 7 years old. I see them. They give me a lot of joy."
"I work for Madison County Mental Health."
Who is Sharon Beavers?
"Tank Beavers mother. Tank is my first cousin. He was younger than me. I knew him all my life. The last time I saw him was December 16, 2006 at my grandma's home, Emma White. Her health isn't very good. She's been in ICU and was just r, eleased.
(Don , Rizzardi shows picture)
Who is this person?
"My first cousin, Tank Beavers. It was his graduating picture from high school."
Who was Tank?
"He loved basketball, family, sports. He went to University of Memphis on a basketball scholarship in 2004. Then moved back to Athens."
Did you ever talk to him about the future?
"Yes sir. Tank wanted an NBA career, complete his education. He was a star player. He wanted to take care of his family. He had great goals and hopes for his life. In his short time he did while he was here on this earth. Had a younger sister, older brother."
Cross examine by Alan Mann.
Ms. Shoulders, sorry for your loss. Tank went to Memphis to play basketball?
"He stayed there about a year. He left for unknown reasons. Left the team on his own. He was in the process of transferring to Florida."
How long had he been out of school in Memphis before the shooting?
"Six to 9 months. He planned to go the spring semester of 2007."
During that time he was home. Did he work?
"Reggie Battle Construction Company. His job was concrete and handled payroll."
How often were you a, round Tank?
"We are close family. Every day, we have been out together."
He carry a lot of cash with him?
"I know of one."
He had two.
"He could have had a work phone."
In December 2006 he was still employed?
Ms. Shoulders, this is a tough question. Not trying to be disrespectful. Did Tank drink?
"On occasion. Casual drinker. Drank a few times wi, th me. Not at that time."
Did you know Thurston Turner?
Little T? Tank Head?
"I called everybody by their names. I'm not into nicknames."
You know the Lucas sisters?
They think Rotesia was a cousin of yours?
"Tank's side. Not mine."
You know Jamal Woods?
"No, sir. Never seen him before."
Ever hear of OG?
"Yes. Don't know what it stands for. It was a childhood name, I think."
Thanks for being here.
Now on the stand for the prosecution is Danny Lamont, retired officer with Huntsville Police Department.
"I retired after 26 years. I analyzed fingerprints from crime scenes and I also taught classes to our police academy on the subject. I also worked for the FBI in Washington as a fingerprint analyst. I was there 10 years. I have received a number of awards and certificates through my career."
We offer Mr. Lamont as an expert i, n the latent fingerprint area. What is a latent print?
"Chance print found on a surface. If you touch a surface. you will leave a print, especially if you have oil on your hands."
You said ridge detail. What is that.
"Skin completely unlike any other part of your body. You got ridges, on the palm of your hand. They grow 10 1/2 week of gestation and they stop growing at 16 weeks gestation time. They form about 10 1/2 weeks down on the bottom layer of your epidermis. They connect to one another, at random, start to push their way to the top of the skin. These prints are permanent on your hands and feet. They come in the form of forked ridges, ridge endings, short ridges. There are enclosures where a ridge forks into 2 and comes back to one place."
When you compare prints, is it ridge detail you look at?
"I look at it all. When I compare prints, I look at the quality. Is it a good quality? If too much moisture gets on a print, it takes away ridge details and I can't make a print off it. If a print gets processed in the field, you can actually erase the print. I can't make a comparison with that. The fragileness of the evidence, way its laid, the surface, number of reasons why print doesn't have enough ridge , detail to make a comparison."
What is an ink print?
"An ink print is a known print. It's put on a case card and it's signed. We know who they belong too. A major ink print card we put a finger in ink and roll it nail-to-nail. We take the tips and full roll to cover all three joints. On the bottom side we take palm prints. Then we take a palm print known as a writers palm. If we have a case later on this person is a suspect we can make a comparison. Without it I would have to ask the person be brought in."
When you take major case prints, you do both hands?
"If they have both, yes."
When making comparison, you compare the latent print to the ink print?
"Yes, in any science you compare the unknown to the known. I look for something that stands out to me. In this case it was a short ridge with two long ones. At that time I looked at fingerprints for those two friction ridge details, a known fingerprint. That way I don't contaminate my thinking. I don't let outside influences change my way of thinking."
Can any two people have the same DNA?
"Identical twins, because they come from the same egg."
(Judge: I object. He is not an expert in the DNA field)
What about fingerprints?
"Identical twins don't have the same fingerprints."
Can you identify this card?
"Yes, it was turned in this case. It has a latent print of value. Thirty-one total prints turned in. Latent print #26-31 contained sufficient latent prints. There were five different latent. On this particular card, only one that was sufficient."
Which print is that?
"No. 26. Two shorter ridges with regular long ridge in between drew me to that print."
This is State's exhibit No. 52. Can you find the ridges?
"Light is dim in her,e but I can see it."
What about state No. 154?
"Yes. (Shows card to the jury) What I have hear is the right thumb there is a short ridge. I'm looking at ridge detail. On the very edge of the latent was a recurring ridge. Here we have a downward loop."
Based on your analysis, what about latent print #26?
"Yes, contained friction ridge details. It was Mr. Woods. The print was made by his right thumb."
Cross examination by Larry Morgan.
February 4, 2009
The court just took a short break. Testimony with Harold Hutcheson continues.
'Take a look at these exhibits. Describe each picture to the jury. Exhibits #4 is a photo of the bar. Exhibit 5 is the north area of the bar. #6 is a photo of Mr. Beavers on the floor. #7 is taken from another angle of the restaurant. #8 was taken from the elevated portion looking back toward the dining room. #9 is a photo of a row of tables that were lined along the window. This is where the defendant was sitting. #10 is a photo of the same area. #11 is the table where defendant was sitting. #12 is a photo of the north side of the bar area. #13 is a photo looking back south east. #14 is a photo where the bullet was located. #15 is a photo of the western wall of the bar area where the bullet struck the wall. #16 is a photo showing the bullet hole in the wall and one in the floor, . #17 is a bullet in the floor. #18 is a photo of the hole in the wall.# 19 is a photo of the fired shell casing inside the bar area. #21 is a photo of Mr. Rogers shirt placed on a cardboard mold what appears to be a bullet hole in the shirt. #40 is Mr. Beavers on the floor. #41 is a close up shot of Mr. Beavers head area. #42 is a close up shot of his gunshot wound to the back of the head #43 is a photo taken at the bar. 2 shell casin, gs found here. His arm and hip can be seen in this hip also. #44 is a photograph of the bar area depicting , where Mr. Beavers was and some of the bloody clothing. #45 is a photo of Mr. Rogers shirt on the floor, towels, turned over stools blood on the floor. #46 is a misfire. #47 photo of the chairs on this side of the bar where Mr. Reliford was sitting, . Blood spattered on the floor. #48 is a photo taken standing about right here looking back. #49 is a photo of the east side of the bar looking south. #50 is a photo of a photo taken of the row of tables showing the elevated portion and the steps on the other end. #51 is a photo taken from the table where the defendant had been sitting looking back at the bar area. #52 is a photo of the s, h, ell casing near the work area of the bar. #52 in the background is the north side of the bar. #53 is a photo of a vehicle I was called to take a fingerprint of. Belonged to a witness last name of Ford. #55 photograph of close up shot of where the bullet entered Mr. R, ogers shirt. #56 is a frontal photo of Mr. Rogers shirt placed o, n the cardboard mold. #57 is a photo of the hole in Mr. Rogers shirt with tape measure. #58 is a closeup of that bullet hole. I took these pictures myself."
Next on the stand for prosecutors, Harold Hutcheson, retired from Huntsville Police Department. 'I was on the force 29 years. I worked as a patrol officer, SW, AT Team, Bomb Squad, Criminal investigation Division, Crime Scene Investigator." Your nickname? "Hutch." "In 17 years I've worked 100-150 homicide scenes." Were you called to TGI Fridays in December 2006. "I got there at 9:55 pm. I first pulled up, I found the person in charge to get briefed. I went inside the building. The way the restaurant is set up its a square. You got tables and chairs in certain areas. There is an elevated portion that sits in the middle of the room. Its square. You go up 3 steps to reach the bar area. Its shaped like a "U" There was crime scene tape. A lot of customers left inside. They were being isolated, talked to by officers to determine witnesses. They were kept away from the shooting area. I went to the bar area. One person was dead. He was on the floor, on his back on the north side of the bar. I saw a gunshot wound to the head. He was several feet from the bar area. His legs were outstretched to the east, his face was turned to the right. Blood had pooled around his head. All of the other persons shot had long been transported to the hospital. Some of the clothing cut off the people was laying on the ground. A white undershirt, golf shirt. Lot of bloody towels, medical wrappers. Most of it was confined to the north side of the bar. When I get to the scene, especially involving firearms, I try to make contact with somebody at the hospital to determine the number of times shot, exit wound. This helps in a case where a semi-automatic weapon is used. I know how many bullets to look for, shell casings to look for. Mr. Beavers was the deceased person on the floor. He had what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the back of the head. Before they moved him, he had quiet a bit of blood on his face. I found out later on, he had an entry wound to his right eye. I couldn't see it at the scene. There was a victim, Tim Reliford, who was at the ER. I was told he was shot in the mouth and had an exit wound. Tory Rogers, gun shot wound to the back that did not exit (his t-shirt and golf shirt). Another victim Thurston Turner, he was shot in the mouth and had no exit wound."
State of Alabama calls Ebonee Coffman. She is being questioned by Don Rizzardi. 'I live in Madison County and work here. I know OF Jamal Woods. I know Tank Beavers. He is my cousin. I know Thurston Turner and the Lucas sisters. We grew up in Athens together. I know Rotesia. She is my cousin. I was NOT in the restaurant the night of the shooting." How did you know about the shooting? "Somebody called to tell me. I didn't believe it. I called a friend to see if it was true. I called 911 to report where the shooter was (Jamal Woods). I thought they wouldn't know who I was when I called." Why did you call police? Jamal had fled the scene. I wanted him caught. I feared for Rotesia's life. I didn't know what he would do to her."
Cross examine by Larry Morgan. 'You ever live in Athens? "Yes I moved here in June 2008. I work for The Alabamian Department of Transportation." How are you related to Tank. "Our great grandmothers are sister. We are third cousins. Rotesia is related. Our mothers are sisters. Sh, e is a first co, usin." How long had it been since you saw Rotesia. "When she was allowed to come to Athens." I didn't ask you that. How long a year, 2 years 8 minutes. , "I don't know."
Cross examination of Tory Rogers by the defense continues.
'You said you saw Mr. Beavers wave. "Yes sir." You testified you made a cell phone call. "My best friend. Told him he was at the restaurant. Told him Rotesia was there. He asked who was there. I said Rotesia and the guy she's married too.' Why did you mention her? "Somebody from Athens. You see someone you know its general conversation. Like gossip. I know her from Athens. Her maiden name is Horton. Her parents live near me. I didn't know her married name." You know her husband's full name? "No sir. I might have heard his first name's Jamal. Never spoken to the guy." Tell us where people were sitting. "Tank and Thurston were sitting side by side. Tank was sitting where he could see the lobby entrance. I could be wrong. The Lucas sisters were on the end." Could you hear the conversation between Tank and Jamal? "Yes. Voices were raised. Jamal yelled at the bar and to his wife." Did you hear Tank say 'I'll talk to that b****. She's my cousin.' "No he said that's my mother f******* cousin." You ever hear Woods say f*** you and your mother f****** iron? "No sir." You could see the gun? "Yes sir. Don't know if Tank saw it or not." Did you hear anybody say the "n" word? "No don't recall." You know the nicknames of the people in the group. You ever heard of original gangster? "Yes. Just on television." what does that mean? "What OG? I'm sure it can mean several things. I never been around no gangster. I'm not gangster and neither is my party." Rotesia younger than you? "I'd say 2 years or so. She was ok. I don't know." You have an opinion of Mr. Woods. "Don't know him." You remember seeing him at the mall a year before the shooting. "Yes. That was my first time actually seeing him." What about trauma you've dealt with? "Surgery. Pain." What about your memory? "No sir. I remember what I remember." You got a look at Jamal holding a gun? "Didn't say that. He had his hand on the gun. I never saw it drawn or pointed. I seen what kind it was. I could see the handle. Looked like a , 9 millimeter highpoint to me. Black in color. I do not have a handgun. I once had a 9 mm and did not have a permit for it. I'm scared of guns. I threw away the one I ha, d. Threw it in the woods. Told you I'm scared of guns. I wasn't scared before this. I threw it in the woods before I got shot. My 9 mm was at the house when the shooting happened at TGI Fridays. None of us had a weapon." You missed the birth of your child. "Girl. She lives wit, h her mother. I see her everyday. She was born on Christmas Day 2006." Let's go back to the seating chart. I'm confused. Were you and your party drinking? "We had a mixed drink from the bartender. It was nasty. It tas, ted awful." What was the size of the glass? "Between a shot glass and a mixed drink glass." Was Tank drinking? "I don't know. I didn't see him drinking." Do you still go through therap, y? "No sir. I am still not able to drive trucks. I have pain some, depending on the position. I was in the hospital a full month." Is there a lawsuit now for those injuries? "Yes. Its against TGI Friday's or Jamal Woods. Maybe both."
Re-examine by Don Rizzardi. 'You saw Jamal Woods with a gun. When you saw that did you think he would shoot? "I had no idea it would happen." This chart here, you disagree where everybody was sitting., Do you agree the order is the same? "Yes." You remember Tim Reliford? "Not at all." This is state's exhibit 4. Hold this and look at it. What does that look like to you? "The TGI Friday's bar area. That looks like my shoe, high tops. I see some blood. I see blood right there."
Mr. Mann. 'You just held up your hand and say point blank range. "I heard the gunshot. I was crawling. I knew Tank was dead. I knew he had been shot in the head." You didn't see him pull the gun. "I didn't say I saw it." Is it your contention that you or anybody next to you never got a drink? "I don't recall. I don't think I ordered one." Was anybody in your party underage? "All 21 or above. Legal drinking age." No one served alcohol illegally? "No sir."
Court is in recess for lunch. Testimony will resume at 1:15.
State of Alabama now calls shooting victim Tory Rogers. 'What do people call you. "Most call me Tory or OG (that stands for "original genuine") and Tank Head. I'm 26 years old. Had that nickname since high school. Tell us about that night 2 years ago at TGI Fridays."Yes sir. We walked in, went up to the bar. Thurston and I were sitting next to each other, Lucas sisters went to the restroom. Thurs, ton ordered a drink. By the time our drinks arrived, the Lucas sisters were back sitting by Tank. We didn't like our drink. It tasted really bad. Ordered something else. Then things started going fast. We grabbed a menu and then it started going fast." Did you know Tim Reliford? "No sir. We were in our own world. I wasn't paying attention to the rest of the bar." Terrance and Tank were talking. "Yes" How long do you think it was before you noticed Jamal Woods? "I saw him when I walked in. I saw Rotesia, his wife. I didn't pay attention to Jamal. I heard of Jamal once. I saw him once at Madison Square Mall. Don't know him." So you had no contact with Jamal? "No sir. I knew Rotesia. She's a neighbor (her family). I looked around and seen her. Everybody know everybody from Athens." When you first came in, Terrance and the Lucas sisters went to the bathroom. You saw Tank come in. "I knew he was there. I never saw Tank leave the bar. Not one time. Never went to Jamal Woods table. What happened that you couldn't order? "We were logging into the trivia game. We weren't there long from the time we got there to the shooting. I called a friend and said I saw Rotesia. He asked if Jamal was there. I said yea. He said don't look back there and said Jamal is crazy! Stay away from him (defense attorneys object asking that the statement about the phone conversation be s, truck.)" You see Jamal come to the bar? "Yes sir. I saw somebody coming across the bar. I heard a guy say 'what the f*** you doing speaking to my wife. I heard Tank say 'man that my mother f****** cousin.' Jamal ask Rotesia is this your cousin? She said no. I saw Jamal holding the gun in his right hand under his shirt. I looked back straight. I didn't want no part of it. I heard him say 'don't be talking to my mother f****** wife. I heard Tank say 'nobody scared of no mother f****** gun. I heard 3 gun shots. I didn't know anything until I got off the floor. I was shot." Tank was to your left. You weren't hit with the same bullet that hit Tank. "No , , sir." Were you hit b, y the bullet that struck Thurston Turner. "No I wasn't." What happened next? "I was trying to crawl. I saw Thurston trying to scoot on the floor with blood coming out his mouth." Where were you shot? "Left back side under my shoulder blade. I was trying to crawl, I felt something pushing hard on my back. I was, in pain. I couldn't get up. I couldn't breath. As I looked to the right, I saw Thurston scooting, blood coming out of his mouth. I heard Tasha hollering Tank dead! Tank dead!" Were you having trouble breathing? "I couldn't. I lost, consciousness. When Tasha told me to get up, I tried to say I couldn't. She told me to lay down. I was trying to get some air, I couldn, 9;t. I laid down. Don't remember how long. I told the paramedic I been shot in the back. The paramedic said he w, as here to help. I don't remember until I came out of a coma 21 days later. My baby momma was pregnant, I saw her come in. I was afraid I wouldn't see my newborn baby. My momma come in and told me she had the baby (after I woke up)." How far was Jamal from Tank? "Jamal was only 3-4 steps from Tank. Very Close. He was only a few steps from me." How long were you in the hospital? "31 days. I remember 10 of those days. That's it." Any problems? "Back pain. Scared. You can never trust nobody. You will forever watch around you. Scared to go in and out your house. Especially when you know there were innocent people. Totally uncalled for."
Cross examine by Alan Mann. 'We are sorry you had to go through this and the loss of your friend. You said you had been with Thurston since Saturday night? "Do I have to answer that? We went to a party. Stayed at some cabins on the lake in Rogersville." Who paid? "Me and Thurston split the bill." Was there alcohol? "Yes" Drugs? Marijuana "No sir." What did you do the next day? "Sunday morning, we hung out until check out time. Had a good time. We were thinking about re-renting those cabins , for the 4th of July. Thurston kept saying we will if the good Lord lets us live that long. He said that like 3 times. Like he knew something was going to happen." At some point you left Rogersville, were you hung over? "No. We had beer and mixed drinks. We came back to Athens, went to a friends house, talked about the party. Went to Terrance's house to play cards." Who was there? "A few friends, maybe 2 or 3 people." Did you start drinking? "Honestly, think we started drinking when we went into the house around 5 pm." What type alcohol was being consumed? "Me and Thurston drinking Gray Goose Vodka." Smooth? Taste like water. "It will come get you. We mixed it with cranberry and pineapple." Everyone was together, some point all of you were together, anything else being consumed? "Thurston loved drinking Bud Light. Might take him a, n hour to drink it. He was a little guy" Anybody intoxicated before you left Terrance's house. "Laughing, cutting up. Playing spades. Nobody drunk." What did you do for a living before the shooting? "At the time of the shooting I was a truck drive. Got paid that Friday before the shooting. I had about $200 with me. Cold cash." You have a cell phone? "Sure did. Got that back (from police)." When you went to the restaurant you were in 2 different vehicles? "Yes. It was only my second time to be in Friday's." All of you go in at the same time. "Different times. Tank came in later on. I didn't see Tank wave at anybody. I was already at the bar. I did see Rotesia and Jamal. I knew Rotesia, yea. I saw Jamal." Your attention was drawn to that table with Rotesia and Jamal? "I said Rotesia, not Jamal." Did you know they were married? "Yes I knew that." Did you ever hear any conversation between your friends at the bar or the table where Jamal and Rotesia were? See anybody wave? "Tank threw his hand up at Rotesia to wave. Just a little wave" You didn't hear anybody say 'turn around you see she ain't waving back?" No sir." What is Tank's drink of choice? "What does that have to do with the shooting? Do I have to answer that?" Yes sir. "I'm not sure." Were you looking at Jamal when words were exchanged between him and Beavers? "No. All I saw was Woods grab a gun." You heard Tasha's testimony Tuesday? "Yes." It was that Woods got angry and pulled out a gun. Mr. Beavers did respond to Mr. Woods. "Tank said ain't nobody scared of your mother f****** gun."
Shooting victim Tim Reliford is on the stand for the state. "I was at TGI Friday's the night of the shooting. I ordered a, beer and planned to order an entree' but didn't. I got shot. I met a guy named Terrance Williams at the bar. He goes by Eddie. We were talking about the restaurants trivia game. There was a lot of noise at the bar, people having fun, talking loud, I ordered a beer, took a sip, sat it back down, I heard a pop. I saw either a puff of smoke or my eyes were watering. It was quick. I couldn't focus. I went down, hit the floor. I realized I had been shot when I saw blood dripping. When I hit the floor bloo, d began to seep in my eye. It stung. I heard something. Don't know if it was a gun shot. My ears were ringing. My injury was to the head. I have a scar on the left side of my face. The bullet went into my jaw, came out a 1/2 inch from my ear." Were you taken to the hospital? "Yes. I wa, s in intensive care. I was there 24 hours or so. I was released the next day, late in the afternoon." (Reliford steps down and shows the jury his facial wounds). Remember any commotion at the bar? "No sir. It was a busy night. I was surprised to get a seat, not at the table. I had to sit at the bar."
Cross examine by Larry Morgan will begin soon. The court is in recess for a 15 minute break.
February 3, 2009
Testimony wrapped up today with 2 more employees of TGI Friday's taking the stand. Court will resume tomorrow morning at 9 am.
Terrance Williams is now on the stand. He is being questioned by Shauna Barnett. "I live in Athens. I was at TGI FRiday's the night of the shooting. I was with Tory Rogers, Tank Beavers, Thurston Turner, Tasha and Miranda Lucas. Do you go by Terrance? "Eddie sometimes." I come in sat at the bar for a second. Tim Reliford came in with his girl. Tim was sitting in the second seat. I talked to him about the game (trivia) at Friday's. I think he was playing. I didn't know him before we spoke. He didn't come with my group. I talked to the bartender too. I knew him." How long were you there before the shooting started? "20 minutes maybe." Walk me through that night. "We were hungry decided to go out and eat. Went to Friday's, sat down, had a conversation about Rotesia being from Athens. Me and Tank were talking. Jamal Woods came up to the bar stood between 2 small tables, started shooting." What was said between Tank and Jamal? "He asked about speaking to his woman Rotesia. Tank said that was his cousin. Jamal hollered over the banister 'is that your cousin?' Rotesia said no. Jamal pulled the pistol and I jumped." Did you stay inside the restaurant? "Yes. I used my cellphone to call somebody to pick me up. You ever see Tank get hit? "Not directly. Its the last time I ever saw Tank."
Cross examine by Larry Morgan. 'You indicated that you heard some conversation between Beavers and Woods. "Yes" (Williams again explains t, he conversation he heard between Tank Beavers and Jamal Woods at the bar). Did you hear any words you haven't told us? "Its been 2 years. I can't remember everything that was said. Bottom line, curse words or not, means the same. He didn't want Tank speaking to his lady." Tory Rogers has been referred to as OG? "No sir." Do you know if Mr. Turner had a street name? "Little T." What about Miranda Lucas? "Mo." Mr. Rogers referred to as OG? "Yea." You have a street name? "Eddie Monster. Childhood name." we know Tank was an accomplished basketball player? "Shorter than me. 5'11 maybe 6'" Mr. Turner "5'9 maybe." You indicat, ed you heard some words and you exchanged between Beavers and Woods. You recognized curse words. "Yes I did." Did you hear Jamal argue with Rotesia. "No sir." You know Rotesia before then? "No sir. I knew her family. She's younger." You recognize her in the restaurant that night? "Yea when I seen her." Hear any exchange between Jamal and Rotesia? "No."
Matt Phillips with HEMSI on the stand now. 'I've been an EMS almost 30 years. I'm a paramedic. Did you respond to TGI Friday's December 17, 2006? "It was a shooting. Don't recall if it was in progress. Just know it was a shooting. We were already on University. I could see 2 HPD officers there. THey waved us in that it was ok to go into the restaurant. Keith Burrows was my partner. I was the first responder on the scene. We went to the bar area, still people trying to get out. Some people still around as we got up to the bar. It was obvious we had more than 1 patient. I have the job to triage. The first patient was a black male, shot in the head. He had no pulse and was not breathing. The next patient was a black male, on all fours, against the bar. I ask if he was hurt. He said, yea in the back. He was breathing and conscious. I didn't see any bleeding. I told him to stay put. The third patient was in the floor with a woman holding his head. She was screaming for me to help him. It was a chaotic scene. He was laying on his back looking up, blood coming out of his mouth. He attempted to speak but couldn't. He mouthed 'help me.' Then he went unconscious. He was the most critical of the patients we had. We started 2 large IV's. He lost a pulse. We did CPR then put him in full c-spine for precaution. Where the gun shot was we weren't sure of injury. Then moved him to the truck. Bill Hall helped me with the patient because he was the most critical."
Male witness (who asked to not be identified) is next on the stand for prosec, utors. 'I'm a former waiter at TGi Fridays. I was working the night of December 17, 2006. I got to work at 4 pm. I remember walking from a table to the bar area. I heard a loud pop. Sounded like a balloon. I looked up toward the bar area where I heard the s, ound come from. I saw someone shooting a gun. I listened to the shots as I ran to the kitchen. It was a black 9 millimeter. I've seen guns here and there. My brother had a silver one. I was 5 feet away when I saw the gun. I went to the kitchen to make sure everything was ok. I stayed in the back 5 or 10 minutes. After you talked to the manager, I went to the front door. I was told to make sure no one came in or out of the restaurant un, til the police got there. I saw one late model dark vehicle with a white pin stripe leaving the parking lot going east."
Cross examine by Larry Morgan. 'You saw a late model car with a pin stripe leaving. What is a late model car. "70's style." You made a statement on the date of the shooting that it looked to be a 9mm handgun. You identified it because your brother has a silver one. Do you know the difference in a revolver and a semi-automatic? "No. Don't know much about guns."
Testimony continues with cross examination of Tasha Lucas by defense attorney Alan Mann. 'When you went into the bar it was you, your , sister, Tank Beavers, Thurston Turner, Terrance Williams, and Tory Rogers (nickname OG). You said that you left Eddie's house? "Around 8:40 pm" You all got together around..."6:00 whatever." A few people were drinking? "yea" You got to the restaurant some ordered drinks "I don't know about Tank and Terrance. I know Tory and Thurston. I was in the restroom. I tasted a drink. I wasn't good." Order any food? "No sir." Who paid? "Thurston told Miranda you want me to pay? Miranda didn't have time to order. I didn't place an order." You didn't hear anything before Jamal came to the bar. "When he approached Tank that's when talk began." When he walked up you see him "As soon as he came up, I seen a figure of a body and it was Jamal. We were laughing, joking, having fun. Talking to each other about trivia." Anybody with you appear drunk? "No." None of them had too much to drink? "No" Mr. Woods approach you watch? "I stood up looked straight at him and Tank. They didn't move. I was the only one standing up. Everybody else was on the stools. Jamal said do you know my wife to Tank. Tank said yea I know your MF wife she is my MF cousin. Jamal was giving attitude, his eyes all scrunched up. He didn't look happy." did he make a threatening gesture? "What you mean? Jamal turned around asked Rotesia you know him? She said no. Jamal said homeboy I playing this s***. Then POW! Nobody moved." When is the first time you saw a gun "When Jamal pulled up his shirt. He started shooting. He pulled his shirt up and the gun out of his waist band. It was on the right hand side. I know about guns. I've shot several times, handguns." What is your experience. "Celebrating New Year's Eve and Fourth of July. I got a 9 millimeter black. I had one. Don't have it anymore. Got it from my sister. I ain't got no permit. I shot a 45, a big gun. The 45 has more kick. I shot a 380 once. I know a gun when I see it." Did you describe the gun Woods had that night? "No. They never ask me." What kind of gun did h, e, have? "A 9 just like the one I had. I didn't have my gun with me that night." You said when Mr. Woods pulled out his gun he shot Tank point blank. What did you do? "I couldn't move. I was watching. It happened fast. After he shot Tank I saw Terrance jump. Jamal stood up next to Thurston and shot again. He shot Tank once. The next was at Thurston. Then Tory and then a 4th shot." How rapid were they? "Pow! Pow!Pow!Pow!" Could someone have shot that rapidly? "I guess if you wanted it could. It was an automatic. It was one after another." At some point you saw Mr. Reliford? "I didn't say that. I didn't see him." I'm not trying to offend you. "I told you I hadn't seen him." You see him get shot? "No." Do you dispute he got shot in the face? "I understand he was wounded?" You hurt? "Just my neck hurting. I thought I had been shot. My sister checked me. I was fine. My neck was burning but I didn't have any marks." When it was over, you talked to the police. Did they interview you about what you saw, "I gave them a statement. I wrote something down and handed it to the police officer. I was trying to get to the hospital. One cousin was already dead on the ground." Mr Woods pointed a gun at your sister? "yes he did. It was after the 4 shots. I saw Tank fall. I was so traumatized I don't remember." How far away was he from your sister. "A few feet. The gun jammed. The top was up. It was up that means its jammed." Your sister is in the courtroom. Did the police ask for a statement? "I don't know if she gave one or not. She was crying so much and the phone was ringing." You never were interviewed again? "No. I was worried about my crew, Tank, Tory and Thurston. I needed to get to the hospital. I was told I couldn't go anywhere though until I gave the officer a statement. I was so traumatized." I understand anybody would be. Did you ever tell an officer that Jamal Woods pointed a gun at your sister? "I told the DA." I understand that. Identify this exhibit please. Is this your statement you wrote that night. Your signature at the bottom? "Yea it looks like it." Yes or no. "Yea. I think it is." What about this statement. Is this your sister's handwriting? "I guess so." Were you with her when she wrote the statement? "No sir." She go with you to the hospital? "Yes sir." The 2 statements, yours and your sisters either one mention Jamal pointing a gun at you? "No sir." You wrote almost a page. "I scribbled it. All of its true." You said he pulled out , a black gun a 9 or a 38. "Like I told the police, it looked like a 9. When I got home pulled mine out an, d looked at it, I knew it was a 9." A 9 and 38 don't look much alike. " Your sis, ter only wrote one sentence right? Judge I object to the head shaking by the prosecution. Please ask them to stop that. Its' been going on for the past 2 witnesses. (Don Rizzardi I apologize). You said you saw Woods walk out, "I turned around a second and seen him walking , out. He was walking, he stopped and looked a, t Rotesia. He was just walking." Yo,, u said he shot Tank in the head, Tory and shot Thurston 2 times. "I heard 4 shots and thought Thurston got hit twice." Is your memory better today than 2 years ago? "I guess so. I was nervous, scared, shocked. Never seen anything , like that before. Its traumatic. It never dawned on me to tell the police that, Jamal pointed a gun at my sister. I told them everything they wanted to know. They didn't call me. I didn't call the police." Ever see him shoot a shot that didn't make contact w, ith somebody? "I heard four shots. I heard four shots. Don't know what happened with the fourth shot. Terrance jumped up, I thought he got hit." You ever told anyone you saw Mr. Woods shoot at Terrance and the shot miss , and hit the white boy. "Not to my knowledge."
'How many guns did you see that night? "One. The one Jamal Woods had."
Tasha Lucas now on the stand for the state. She was a witness the night of the shooting and a relative to the victims. 'I live in Athens. I was at TGI Friday's that night (December 17, 2006). There were 6 in our group, me, Tank Beavers, Thurston Turner, Tory Roger, s, Terrance Williams and my sister Miranda Lucas." How do you know these people? "Tank is my cousin, Thurston is my cousin, Tory is a friend, Terrance a friend, Miranda is my sister. We went into the restaurant. When we walked in Tank waved his hand at Rotesia (Jamal's sister). He sat down, Miranda and I went to the bathroom to wash our hands, then we went to sit at the bar. I stopped by Thurston. I was talking to Tory and Miranda. About 2 minutes later Jamal walked up. He asked Tank 'hey homeboy you know my wife. Yea that's my mf cousin.' Rotesia dropped her head and said no. Jamal turned around and say , 9;I ain't playing that s***. Then shot him (Tank). Thurston turned around got caught in the mouth by a bullet. Jamal pointed the gun at my sister, it jammed. I grabbed her and laid on top of her. Jamal stopped and looked at Rotesia as he walked out of the bar. I checked Tank. Told him to hold on help was on the way. I ran over to Thurston. I told him to lay there helps on the way. I told Tory to get up! Get up! You ain't shot. He couldn't catch his breath. He was shot in the back. He needed air. Thurston was reaching out for me. I ran over to Tank tried to see if he was ok. Terrance told me he's gone. The shooter (Woods) left in black Chevy with a white stripe. Eddie told me don't forget that description, ok?. Everybody rushed in. I touched Tank and told him to squeeze my hand. He squeezed one time and he couldn't...(emotional)." Let's go back. What did Jamal say before the shooting. 'You his cousin? Rotesia dropped her head and said no. Tank was my sec, ond cousin." Was Rotesia related to Mr. Beavers? "Yes sir. Tanks mom is kin to Rotesia and them. I want to say its Rotesia's grandmother's nephew." A cousin to some degree. What did you do inside the restaurant? "I tried to calm Thurston and Tory. I told them to lay still. They kept moving. I was running back and forth trying to check on all 3 of them at one time." What was your sister like at this time? "Scared, crying, ye, lling. Tried to calm her down. She kept hollering and screaming. Scared. I don't know. Just scared." Tasha is that the person (Jamal Woods)? "I'm positive. I looked straight in his face. I was standing up the entire time he was shooting." You see him come up to the bar? "Yes sir." How many times did Jamal come up to the bar? "Once. Tank never left the bar to go down to Jamal's table."
Alan Mann on cross examine. 'Ms. Lucas sorry for what you went through. Its a sensitive thing. Where had you been before you went to Friday's? "Terrance Williams house. Been there most of the day before Tank came by a few hours later. We went to the restaurant around 9 pm." Been anywhere else? "My sisters house to get my truck?" What about alcohol? Anybody drinking? "Me? I don't drink." Who was drinking? "All of them but me. I was driving." See anybody drinking? "Yes all of them they had Gray Goose and other alcohol. Tank had one shot. Turner had 3-4 beers, Bud Light. Tory drank some beer and so did my sister." Any alcohol in the vehicle? "Not in mine." When you got to Friday's, Mr. Woods was already there. Where were they sitting? "At the bottom level, below the bar." Did you know Jamal? "No." Rotesia? "Yes." Did you speak? "I didn't speak. We ain't like that (friends). We grew up in the projects together."
February 3, 2009
State calls Will Moody to the witness stand. He is being questioned by Ass. DA Shauna Barnett. 'You from this area? "No. Atlanta. Lived there 3 years." You were here on business in December 2006? "Yes with Gary Glass. We checked into the hotel we went to Friday's for dinner. When you entered the restaurant, my table was near the front of t, he restaurant near the windows. My back was to the glass, facing the bar. We did complete our meal. I remember we were waiting for the ticket. At that point I saw one of the men stand up at the table next to us walk up to the bar area, some words said, raise the gun pull the trigger and I dropped to the floor and got under the table. Black male, dark clothing, baggy. There were 2 other black males and a black female at the table." How close was the shooter to you? "3-5 feet. There was a lot of tension. Not a pleasant conversation. It made me feel uneasy by the way he was talking to the woman. I decided not to say anything to him (Woods)." You notice a physical altercation? "He (Woods) shoved her (the woman at the table) on the shoulder, before he got up from the table. He wa, lked up to the bar, argued and began shooting. His gun was in the right hand." What about his height and weight? "Stocky, shorter than myself." After the first shot happened what did you do? "I ducked under the table tried to shield myself. Their was shouting going on. Shortly after I got on the floor, I saw Gary get on the floor. I did hear what sounded li, ke 2 shots. There was a lot of noise tables being knocked over dishes broken. It was like a mass exodus from the restaurant. We made eye contact under the table we realized we needed to leave. We ran towards where Gary parked. At that point Gary realized he didn't have his keys. We had to go back into the restaurant. I turned my head back to the entrance and saw 3 people who were sitting with the shooter outside the restaurant. The woman appeared to be distraught. She was panicky stricken, sobbing, yelling. The other 2 gentlemen with her were trying to get her up off the curb. They finally got her up and they took off running where we were parked. At that point we went back inside to get Gary's coat and keys. He saw there were people at the bar area and went to help. I was walking up to the bar and I was overco me by what I witnessed. Gary signaled me and said he needed my help. I saw the blood, a body and told Gary 'I can't do, this.' I saw an offi, cer on scene and said I saw the people with the shooter run off behind the building." Later on did you come in contact with Invest. David Owen? "Yes" Did he take you to the Hampton Inn? "yes. i saw the same three people there." Did Inv. Owen take you back to the restaurant? "Yes Gary and I were dismissed from the scene and allowed back to the hotel. We were at the restaurant at least an hour and half before we were released." The next morning what happened? "Invest. Owen asked me to look at a photo lineup. It was a sheet of paper with photos and they were small low quality and I couldn't identify the shooter from the lineup." This is state's exhibit 202, a state's memo about the shooting. How long after did you write this? "At least an hour after shooting occured. I described Woods as having a goatee, black baggy clothing and a ball cap."
Larry Morgan, defense attorney cross examines. 'Were you shown videos made of the scene? "No sir." You said he had a bald head. "It looked extremely short." The table where you were seated was 3 feet from Jamal Woods and his party. "Yes sir. I could hear voices. I knew they were having a conversation. Woods table was from the right of me." On the west side of the business? "Yes I would say so." You were seated with your back to the window or University Drive. "Yes" You were facing the bar area. "Yes. Woods table was to the right." This diagram shows a round table and 4 square top tables. Was there any table closer to this wall west of your table. "I don't understand." Well, they are numbered. Tell me which one you were seated in. "Table 12 I think." 3-5 feet be the distance from each table? "I don't know." "I could tell their was tension at the table but did not hear wh, at was said. It was clear an argument took place." Do you watch the occupants close enough to notice Mr. Woods left the table before the shooting? "I recall him passing in front of the table at some point. My fo, cus was on the food on my plate in front of me." Would you have any idea how long he was away from the table before he came back? "I saw him passing by but I was focused on the conversation with my co-worker. I didn't see him leave, I saw him come back. I cou, ldn't tell you how long he was away from that specific table." You heard words being said at the table. Did you hear Jamal say to his wife Rotesia what's that all about you know these "N's"? "No I don't recall the specificis?" Hear Jamal say 'not like that?' "No" Did you hear Rotesia say I went to school with Tank, he was behind me in school. I knew them both from school? Hear jamal say 'they need to turn around." "No sir" You hear jamal say 'these n****** have no reason to talk to you?' "No sir." Hear him say 'what's up. What the f*** is wrong with you. You need to go on with that b***s***? You hear someone at the bar say 'f*** you. Did you hear Jamal say 'slow that roll boy I got the iron on you?' "No sir." You hear anyone say 'you are being disrespectful? "No sir." Did you hear Jamal say 'you don't know them?' Hear Jamal ay 'I'm going to go up to the bar and tell them to turn around.' "No sir." Hear one of them say 'I'll talk to that b**** if I want she's my cousin." Hear Jamal say to Rotesia, 'is this MF your cousin? Hear Rotesia say 'hell no.' Hear somebody at the bar say 'what the f*** you going to do about it?' Hear anybody at the bar say 'f*** you and your MF iron? "No sir. I wasn't concentrating on their conversation."
'This dialogue you can't say you heard it correct? "true." Did you make eye contact with Woods? "No. It seemed like the tension at the table was impressive. I know that a gentleman doesn't talk to a lady like that."In your mind you recall that's no way to speak to a lady. "Yes sir." Mr Woods made those comments. "Yes. I don't know the specifics." What was his demeanor. "He seemed like he was aggravated person. Had a scowl. When I did see him, I could see his face when he would turn. I never met the man before." Did you hear the wife say anything? "I could obviously tell their was an argument. Both were talking, raising their voices. It was a heated discussion." They were speaking louder than others? "Yes sir." You couldn't tell who was doingn the loud talking. "At points their voice was elevated. I was there to eat and go to bed. That's it." Other than the scowl and loud talking. "There was obvioulsy tension in the air." It peaked your interest? "Yes I knew their was a tense discussion. I glanced over and saw a look on Woods face." What else about his demeanor? "It seems like he was aggressive." 2 people were fighting how do you know he's aggressive? "Expressions used at the table. I'm married and I know how it is when a couple fights." The aggression you obsered came from Mr. Woods? "Yes. When he did it, struck out at me." Ever tell anyone about the aggression you saw on Mr. Woods? "Not that I can recall. Likely talk about it with Gary. This was 2 years ago. I don't recall the specific words."
Will Moody called to the witness stand by the State of Alabama. He is being questioned by Ass. DA Shauna Barnett. 'Are you from this area? "No. Atlanta. I've lived there 3 years." You were here on business on December 17, 2006? "Yes with Gary Glass, who previously testified. We checked into the hotel we went to Friday's for dinner. When you entered the restaurant, my table was near the front of the restaurant near the windows. My back was to the glass, facing the bar. We did complete our meal. I remember we were waiting for the ticket. At that point I saw one of the men stand up at the table next to us walk up to the bar area, some words said, raise the gun pull the trigger and I dropped to the floor and got under the table. Black male, dark clothing, baggy. There were 2 other black males and a black female at the table." How close was the shooter to you? "3-5 feet. There was a lot of tension. Not a pleasant conversation. It made me feel uneasy by the way he was talking to the woman. I decided not to say anything to him (Woods)." You notice a pysical altercation? "He (Woods) shoved her (the woman at the table) on the shoulder, before he got up from the table. He walked up to the bar, argued and began shooting. His gun was in the right hand." What about his height and weight? "Stocky, shorter than myself." After the first shot happend what did you do? "I ducked under the table tried to shield myself. Their was shouting going on. Shortly after I got on the floor, I saw Gary get on the floor. I did hear what sounded like 2 shots. There was a lot of noise tables being knocked over dishes broken. It was like a mass exidous from the restaurant. We made eye contact under the table we realized we needed to leave. We ran towards where Gary parked. At that point Gary realized he didn't have his keys. We had to go back into the restaurant. I turned my head back to the entrance and saw 3 people who were sitting with the shooter outside the restaurant. The woman appeared to be distraught. She was panick stricken, sobbing, yelling. The other 2 gentlemen with her were trying to get her up off the curb. They finally got her up and they took off running where we were parked. At that point we went back inside to get Gary's coat and keys. He saw there were people at the bar area and went to help. I was walking up to the bar and I was overco me by what I witnessed. Gary signaled me and said he needed my help. I saw the blood, a body and told Gary 'I can't do this.' I saw an officer on scene and said I saw the people with the shooter run off behind the building." Later on did you come in contact with Invest. David Owen? "Yes" Did he take you to the Hampton Inn? "yes. i saw the same three people there." Did Inv. Owen take you back to the restaurant? "Yes Gary and I were dismissed from the scene and allowed back to the hotel. We were at the restaurant at least an hour and half before we were released." The n, ext morning what happened? "Invest. Owen asked me to look at a photo lineup. It was a sheet of paper with photos and they were small low quality and I couldn', t identify the shooter from the lineup." This is state's exhibit 202, a state's memo about the shooting. How long after did you write this? "At least an hour after shooting occured. I described Woods as having a goatee, black baggy clothing and a ball cap."
Larry Morgan, defense attorney cross examines. 'Were you shown videos made of the scene? "No sir." You said he had a bald head. "It looked extremely short." The table where you were seated was 3 feet from Jamal Woods and his party. "Yes sir. I could hear voices. I knew they were having a conversation. Woods table was from the right of me." On the west side of the business? "Yes I would say so." You were seated with your back to , the window or University Drive. "Yes" You were facing the bar area. "Yes. Woods table was to the right." This diagram shows a round table and 4 square top tables. Was there any table closer to this wall west of your table. "I don't understand." Well, they are numbered. Tell me which one you were seated in. "Table 12 I think." 3-5 feet be the distance from each table? "I don't know." "I could tell their was tension at the table but did not hear what was said. It was clear an argument took place." Do you watch the occupants close enough to notice Mr. Woods left the table before the shooting? "I recall him passing in front of the table at some point. My focus was on the food on my plate in front of me." Would you have any idea how long he was away from the table before he came back? "I saw him passing by but , I was focused on the conversation with my co-worker. I didn't see him leave, I saw him come back. I couldn't tell you how long he was away from that specific table." You heard words being said at the table. Did you hear Jamal say to his wife Rotesia what's that all about you know these "N's"? "No I don't recall the specificis?" Hear Jamal say 'not like that?' "No" Did you hear Rotesia say I went to school with Tank, he was behind me in school. I knew them both from school? Hear jamal say 'they need to turn around." "No sir" You hear jamal say 'these n******, have no reason to talk to you?' "No sir." Hear him say 'what's up. What the f*** is wrong with , you. You need to go on with that b***s***? You hear someone at the bar say 'f*** you. Did you hear Jamal say 'slow that roll boy I got the iron on you?' "No sir." You hear anyone say 'you are being disrespectful? "No sir." Did you hear Jamal say 'you don't know them?' Hear Jamal ay 'I', ;m going to go up to the bar and tell them to turn around.' "No sir." , , Hear one of them say 'I'll talk to that b**** if I want she's my cousin." Hear Jamal say to Rotesia, 'is this MF your cousin? Hear Rotesia say 'hell no.' Hear somebody at the bar say 'what the f*** you going to do about it?' Hear anybody at the bar say 'f*** you and your MF iron? "No sir. I wasn't concentrating on their conversation."
'This dialogue you can't say you heard it correct? "tr, ue." Did you make eye contact with Woods? "No. It seemed like the tension at the table was impressive. I know that a gentleman doesn't talk to a lady like that."In your mind you recall that's no way to speak to a lady. "Yes sir." Mr Woods made those comments. "Yes. I don't know the specifics." What was his demeanor. "He seemed like he was aggravated person. Had a scowl. When I did see him, I could see his face when he would turn. I never met the man before." Did you hear the wife say anything? "I could obviously tell their was an argument. Both were talking, raising their voices. It was a heated discussion." They were speaking louder than others? "Yes sir." You couldn't tell who was doingn the loud talking. "At points their voice was elevated. I was there to eat and go to bed. That's it." Other than the scowl and loud talking. "There was obvioulsy tension in the air." It peaked your interest? "Yes I knew their was a tense discussion. I glanced over and saw a look on Woods face." What else about his demeanor? "It seems like he was aggressive." 2 people were fighting how do you know he's aggressive? "Expressions used at the table. I'm married and I know how it is when a couple fights." The aggression you obsered came from Mr. Woods? "Yes. When he did it, struck out at me." Ever tell anyone about the aggression you saw on Mr. Woods? "Not that I can recall. Likely talk about it with Gary. This was 2 years ago. I don't recall the specific words."
Court is back in session from a quick break.
Assistant District Attorney Shauna Barnett now questioning witness Gary Glass. "I live in Atlanta. I come here some on business with a co-worker. We were here the night of the shooting. We checked into a hotel (Hampton Inn) and went to TGI Friday's to eat." What time? "Around 8 pm" Do you remember where you were seated? "At the front by the windows. From the hostess stand take a right." Do you remember how you were seated? "I was facing University my friend was facing the bar. We finished our meal we were waiting for our bill. We were just getting ready to leave. We had not paid. During the meal their was some friction at the table next to us. I could hear raised voices maybe an argument with people sitting at the table. I certainly wasn't going to say anything. I heard a popping noise like a light bulb exploding. I turned to see what it was. I saw Mr. Woods with a gun in his right hand. I hit the floor. I heard screaming tables knocking over plates breaking. I remember hearing someone scream, 'I can't believe he shot him. I can't believe he shot him' I couldn't believe it happened. My friend was on the floor. I was begging for my life. Praying for God I wouldn't die. I tried to shield my view by getting next to a wall. I thought it was a robbery. It got really quiet. We ran out of the restaurant." Which exit do you flee out of " The main exit. We ran to the back of the parking lot. My friend was still looking. I told him to get away from the window., We didn't know if Woods was still inside. We were going to leave. My jacket and car keys were in the restaurant. We weren't in the parking lot long. I told my friend I had to go back in to get my keys. We couldn't go anywhere. I went back in to get my keys and jacket. I saw the bodies. I went back in I glanc, ed at the bar area and saw 4 bodies laying there in an excessive amount of blood. There was no one to help. No police, no paramedics. Nobody. I went to the bar area surveyed to see if anyone was alive see if I could do anything. I saw a man on the floor. I couldn't help. Another one shot in the back. Another with a head wound. I helped him. I saw him when he came in the restaurant. I thought he must be a waiter because he was wearing a red shirt and black pants. I tried to talk to him to keep him conscious. I asked the bartender for a bar towel with ice. I held it on his head and talked to him. Finally some first responders showed up. They checked for a pulse on the other bodies. A paramedic took over and I stepped out of the way. At that time police were on the scene. They asked if we saw anything. We said yes we saw everything. I gave a written statement to police. We were at the restaruant for hours. Finally left after midnight." At the time of the shooting did you get a look at the shooter? "He was wearing dark clothing, black shirt. Had a close hair cut, almost shaved head. Heavy set right handed. i never saw him again after I dove under the table."
Al, an Mann, cross examine. 'You were seated at the table next to Mr. Woods. 'Yes. 4 people were at his table. Woods had his back to the window. They were already seated when we came in. They were to my left and back a bit." You testified their was conflict. "Raised voices, tension." Did you move? "No it was the last table. I was concerned if I stepped in it might cause problems." What exactly did you hear? "Not what I heard, it was bickering back and forth (Woods and his wife). Didn't know at the time it was his wife. I read it was his wife. I had never seen him before that night. No one else at the table was bickering. Woods was asking her something and they were bickering." I'm not trying to put words in your mouth. "My friend saw and heard everything." I'm not questioning him right now. How do you know? "I dont know everything. I was sit, , ting close by , them. The noise level on the restaurant was moderate." Did you notice anyone at the bar? "No didn't notice." Could you have told us then who was at the bar? "No not then." 3 black men at the bar? "No." You wrote this statement out. This is defense exhibit 2. Is this your statement? "Yes. I was at a table next to the shooter. Got up from the table approac, hed 3 black males opened fire. Heard 3-4 shots people screaming crying. I left the restaurant." You said he (Jamal) got up approached 3 black males. "I saw him fire the 2nd shot and shoot the second person." You said he got up from the table and approached 3 black males. "I saw him after he shot the first one. I saw him get up from the table. No I didn't follow him." You didn't see the confrontation? "No I was on the floor." You put in your statement he got up and approached 3 black men a, t the table. "I did witness the shooting. I told you that already." You said you heard bickering. Anything specific. "You asked me that. I said no. I heard shouting didn't hear exactly what they were saying." Did you see Mr. Woods get up and leave? "Yes. I assume he went out to get his gun. I did not see him come back." When he approached the bar was he seated at a table? "I didnt see that. He got up and left assuming to get out and get his gun. (we object your honor)" Mr. Glass did you notice anything about Woods demener. "He seemed aggravated. It wasn't my business. He was a large man I wasn't about to get in the middle and tell him to treat his wife better." You don't know him, never been around him. "No. I hope that's not how he treats people."
Larry Morgan cross examine. 'Did you hear Brandon Rucker 'ask do you know these dudes they are trying to speak to you?' "No sir. My buddy got a better look at that." Did you hear Jamal ask Rotesia 'what's that all about? How do you know these "N" words?' "No I wasn't trying to listen in on their conversation." You felt tension. "Yes I didn't want to put myself at risk." Did you hear one of them say f*** you? Slow your roll boy I got the iron on you? "No sir." Did you hear Mr. Woods say to Rotesia (Woods wife) you know these n******? Did you hear him say they are being disrespectful. Did you hear Rotesia tell Jamal 'they ain't my kin. We went to school together and we are from the same neighborhood but they never speak to me.' Did you hear Jamal say you are not going to turn around. "No sir. I've already told you. I was having my own conversation." Did you see Jamal sit down at the table, leave the table, come back to the table? Did you hear him ask Rotesia how she knew them (Tank Beavers and Thurston Turner)? "No." Did you hear Jamal say 'whats the deal man. you not see that $3,000 ring on her finger? She's married.' Did you hear Beavers say, 'I can talk to her if I want. She's my cousin." You hear Jamal say to Rotesia 'is this your m*****f****** cousin or what the f*** you going to do about it? "No sir." You hear the guy at the table say 'f*** you and your m*****f**** iron.' "No sir." Where were you facing when you heard the first pop? "University Drive. I turned to s, ee what it was (the popping no, ise)." Thank you sir. Good luck to you.' 'I was trying to ignore them and enjoy my meal. I wasn't focused on that.'9:30 am
Britani Ford on the stand for the state being questioned by Don Rizzardi. 'Are you currently in school? "At UNA." Think back to December 17, 2006. "I ate out with several friends, Christy, Josh and Todd McCulley (didn't catch all the last names). I go to school with Christy and know Josh and Todd through a friend. We originally intended to eat at Logan's on University Drive. We changed our mind and wanted TGI Fridays." You went that night? "Went in 2 vehicles, myself and Christy in my car." Lean forward and look at the defense table, you see him (Jamal Woods)? "Yes I did. Christy and I pulled in the parking lot. As soon as we got out, a car pulled in backed into the spot next to us. The guy was in a black shirt (Jamal Woods). He dropped something on the ground and bent down to pick it up. He was next to my car. He was the driver." I'm going to show you state's exhibits 22 and 23. Look at these pictures. Is this the vehicle? "Yes it is the car that pulled next to me , in the parking lot (Woods vehicle). I didn't see him long in the parking lot. Maybe 2 minutes." When he dropped something what did he do? "He bent down and when he came back up. He stumbled he leaned on the car for a moment. I saw his face."
Don Rizza, rdi pulls television monitor into the middle of the courtroom floor and questions Ford concerning survelliance video inside TGI Friday's the night of the shooting. "What does that look like? "Its the front entrance to TGI Friday's on University Drive si, de."Was that the person next to your car? "Yes sir" (showing video of Jamal Woods). "I didn't want to eat in the same section with Woods because I didn't feel comfortable." Did you order that night? "Yes" Were you in the restaurant when shooting happened? "Yes we were waiting on our check. It sounded like the bartender dropped a bottle on the ground. I looked in the direction of the noise. I saw the shooting taking place around the ledge of the bar. I froze when I heard the first shot. Josh and Todd ran out of the backdoor and left us at the table. Everyone else was just running around. After the first shot I saw the next 2 shots, I got under the table. The same person in the parking lot is the same person I saw shooting. I remember 4 shots. I was underneath the table called my mom to say I was going to be l, ate."
Cross examine by Larry Morgan. 'Thank you for coming. Are you doing ok? "Yes I am" Been to counseling? "No." That's good. You chose to be seated in a different part of the restaurant from Jamal? "Yes. Jamal was sitting to the right side of the host stand. I went to the left, about the 2 or 3rd booth." Did you see any people with Jamal? "Yes 2 males and one female. They came into th, e restaurant as well. 4 people total. I didn't see exactly where they were sitting." Demonstrate on this diagram where you saw or heard the first sound. You are pointing to the area on the north side of the bar. When you heard that noise and looked up what d, id you see? "I saw the man at the car with the gun held up. It was a smaller silver shiny handgun. I saw it in Jamals hand. He was standing over the ledge pointing the gun." Show me where he was and where he was pointing the gun. "I , had to look over my right shoulder to see him." What is in this part of the bar represented by these 2 lines? "Like a ledge. I couldn't see exactly what side he was on. When I looked up people were running everywhere. He had the gun pointed but I didn't know at who. At that point I froze. Didn't know what to do. My 2 male friends hit the back door. My friend (girl) and I were left there by ourself." How were you seated? "Josh and Todd were sitting on the outside of the booth. We were on the inside. After the 3rd shot we got under the booth." What was the distance between you and Jamal? (points to a person in the courtroom) Ever been somewhere, like a public restaurant, where a fire arm was used in a, nger? "No sir." You froze what was your state of mind? "Shock. Didn't know what was going on." Did you hear any words being exchanged? "People yelling. That's all I heard." Is it safe to say you were sitting there talking before the shots? Notice the bar area before? "No sir." When you first came in you saw Jamal go to the right, you went to the left. Did you see him from the foyer to the time of the shooting? "No my back was to everything." After you were under the table, did you see Jamal or anyone leave the restaurant? "I didn't see above the waist I did see his feet. I saw what he was wearing. Dark pants, dark black shirt with writing."
My apologies for cutting the blog short yesterday. The laptop went down after my last post. I wasn't able to transcribe testimony from Huntsville Police Investigator Lisa Hamilton.
Day 2 of testimony will resume shortly. Prosecutors are expected to show survelliance video from inside TGI Fridays on the night of the shooting, December 17, 2006.
We are waiting for the judge and Jamal Woods. Check back for updates.
February 2, 2009
Investigator David Owen with Huntsville Police Department on the stand for the prosecution. 'When did you see Jamal Woods after the shooting? "Just after 2 am." Some 4 hours later? "Yes." What type weapon was used in the shooting? "A 9 milimeter handgun." Did you locate it? "No." What did the search at Woods apartment (on Blue Springs Road) show up? "One handgun, a 40 caliber, numerous rounds of 9 milimeter amunition, a holster and second receipt for a gun." (objection from defense attorneys). This is state exhibit 6. Do you recognize it? "Its the HPD evidence custody document. This was the search warrant on Blue Springs (Woods residence). It lists ammo taken from the residence. It lists specifically the type. There were CCi 40 caliber cartridges, blazer 38 special cartridges, box of American ammunition, 38 caliber, one box Winchester shells, an American A caliber 9 milimeter cartridge, 12/40 caliber cartridges and Independent brand 9 milimeter cartridges." Let's go back to the DV, D player you took from Friday's restaurant. You watched the videos with the other investigator and Crime Scene Investigator Lisa Hamilton. Did it accuratley depict what happened? "Yes it did." Did you visit the Hampton Inn that evening? "Yes I did." You told us that night you questioned Rotesia Wood, Brandon Rucker and Chauncey Davis. They were seated in the back of the patrol car at the Hampton Inn. I determined the 3 with the defendant, left on foot. Police K-9 ran a track and found them in front of the hotel." David you are the lead investigator? "Yes." Was the video fair, accurate and true? "Yes" Judge I object (Larry Morgan) He is guessing. No proper foundation has been found yet."
Cross examination by Alan Mann, 'If you were to watch the video what time would it appear the incident took place? "21:48:50 is the time code." You had no independent knowledge of how it worked? "I knew it was a digital hardrive, the mechanics, no." Do you have any reason to dispute the manager's testimony? "No." Is there any audio? "No" The time is not correct, there is no audio. "Correct." Numbe, r of frames you observed on the video. "More than 4." Did you see Mr. Woods shoot anybody? "No. " Did you see Mr. Beavers or Mr. Turner? "Yes but I could not see them being shot or Mr. Rogers." You could not see anything in that video as far as interaction with Mr. Woods or the other victims? "No. Not a camera on that particular spot. I did see Mr. Reliford react." The most recent time you viewed the video looks the same. "Yes" You, can't say it accuratly depicts what happened in TGI Frida, y's that night. You were not there that night. You can't say it fairly depicts what happened in that time frame. "Yes from what was recorded." You weren't there, didn't watch it. You can't say its an exact image, fair? "I can say I believe it is." You can't tell the jur, y you were there or saw anything. You have to rely on the video. "Correct." You saw that car, the 1971 black Chevelle, would you recognize it? "Yes." You can't do the same thing to that video can you? "I know it was recorded. That's why I can say yes." You have no independent knowledge. '
Gordon Bigelow on the stand for the state. 'How are you employed? "Im the General Manager of TGI Friday's in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. And was once the manager here at the Huntsville location." Reflect back to December 17, 2006. "I was employed there then. I was not working though." How many, sh, ooting events took p, lace? "Just one sir." December 18th did you meet with investigators? "Yes." What was the reason? "We had to retrieve the recording on the video we were also looking at the monitor for the video." Were you and Investigator Owens in the room, "Yes we observed the video with an ADT Technician." Do they have a date/time stamp? "Yes. The date was correct time was not." How far was it off? "35 minutes." Is it uncommon for ti, me stamp to be off? "The one in Tennessee is off by 45 minutes." Is it fair to say the time stamp is off? "Yes." Do you know how to set it? "No. sorry." You watched the video was it working properly? "Yes. After watching we put it in a package and gave it to the police officer." This is state exhibit 146. "This is the layout floor for the TGI Friday's in Huntsville." Is it acurate but not to scale. "Yes it is." Can you point to the front door on this drawing? "Yes it is here. This is the patio. University drive runs this way." Are there chairs that line the bar? "Yes. Total of 27." After watching the video, was the DVD player working properly? "Yes." Did you give the entire DVD player to the investigator? "Yes." No way to alter? "No. Not at all."
Larry Morgan, cross examine. 'Thank you for coming. You have been an assistant General Manager for the Huntsville location? "Yes. Then I left and went to Tennessee." Before December 17, 2006 did you work there on Sunday evenings? "Some. We work different schedules. I did not work that night." TGI Friday's is a popular restaurant? "Yes." You have a bar, license to dispense beverage alcohol with television. "Yes. The television usually shows a national trivia network. Sometimes football." Have you been shown photos of the ones who were victims that night? "No sir." Do you recall seeing these men in your restaurant bar? "No I don't." Did you see photos of Beavers and Turners on television when reports were made of this incident. "Probably pictures. I didn't recognize him or Mr. Turner." Who was the manager on the scene that night? "Joe Paterson, David Hicks."
Don Rizzardi,' How many screens did you see when you watched the video with the investigator? "It showed several different ones. I saw the bar." How many camera angles? "* I believe. One angle where table 10 and 11 is." We know about the front door, any other exits? "One here where the men's restroom is at. One at the backdoor for the kitchen."
Larry Morgan, "You are quick to say you are not an expert. "That is correct." You didn't check it with any specs or manual? "No the ADT person would know that." Have you viewed the video since that day? "I have not." You have an opinion whether they are true or accurate? "I don't see why they wouldn't be." Can you recall how many minutes/hours of video you watch? "We watched from the time of the shooting to the end on several different angles." You haven't gone to the DA's office to view this exhibit? "I have not."
Gordon Bigelow on the stand for the state. 'How are you employed? General manager of TGI Friday's in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. And was once the manager here at the Huntsville location." Reflect back to December 17, 2006. "I was employed there then. I was not working though." How many shooting events took place? "Just one sir." December 18th did you meet with investigators? "Yes." What was the reason? "We had to retrieve the recording on the video we were also looking at the monitor for the video." Were you and Investigator Owens in the roo, m, "Yes we observed the video." Do they have a date/ti, me stamp? "yes. T, he date was correct time was not." How far was it off? "35 minutes." Is it uncommon for time stamp to be of, f? "The one in TN is off by 45 minutes." Is it fair to say the time stamp is off? "Yes." Do you know how to set it? "No. sorry." You watched the video was it working properly? "Yes. After watching we put it in a package and gave it to the police officer." This is state exhibit 146. "This is the layout floor for the TGI Friday's in Huntsville." Is it acurate but not to scale. "Yes it is." C an you point to the front door on this drawing? "Yes it is here. This is the patio. University drive runs this way." Are there chairs that line the bar? "Yes. Total of 27." After watching the video, was the DVD player working properly? "Yes." Did you give the entire DVD player to the investigator? "Yes." No way to alter? "No. Not at all."
Larry Morgan, cross examine. "Thank you for coming. You have been an assistant General Manager for the Huntsville location? "Yes. Then I left and went to Tennessee." Before December 17, 2006 did you work there on Sunday evenings? "Some. We work different schedules. I did not work that night." TGI Friday's is a popular restaurant? "Yes." You have a bar, license to dispense beverage alcohol with television. "Yes. The television usually shows a national trivia network. Sometimes football." Have you been shown photos of the ones who were victims that night? "No sir." Do you recall seeing these men in your restaurant bar? "No I don't." Did yo, u see photos of Beavers and Turners on television when reports were made of this incident. "Probably pictures. I didn't recognize him or Mr. Turner." Who was the manager on the scene that night? "Joe Paterson, David Hicks."
Don Rizzardi,' How many screens did you see when you watched the video with the investigator? "It showed several different ones. I saw the bar." How many camera angles? "* I believe. One angle where table 10 and 11 is." We know about the front door, any other exits? "One here where the men's restroom is at. One at the backdoor for the kitchen."
Larry Morgan, "You are quick to say you are not an expert. "That is correct." You didn't check it with any specs or manual? "No the ADT person would know that." Have you viewed the video since that day? "I have not." You have an opinion wh, ether they are true or accurate? "I don't see why they wouldn't be." Can you recall how many minutes/hours of video you watch? "We watched from the time of the shoot, ing to the end on several different angles." You haven't gone to the DA's office to view this exhibit? "I have not."
Shauna Barnett: 'Your name please. Warren Foy, I'm a paramedic with HEMSI and nurse at Huntsville H, ospital. Tell us what you rememer from the night of the shooting. 'I arrived at the restaurant, went through the main entrance and up the stairs. I was told he (the patient) was dead. Another patient beyond him was being ca, red for. There was another patient being cared for besides that. I assumed care of the patient shot in the back. They were attempting to mobilize him put him on a stretcher. I put oxygen on him, . He was stable, talking complaining of pain. I was approached by another person shot in the face. It was superficial. When you arrived was he awake? "Yes complaining of pain. He didnt' comment on how he was injured." You left the scene? "Yes." No idea of the patient's identity? "No."
Larry Morgan, cross examine. "Who did you transport? The gentleman shot in the back. Do you know his name? "No." Do you recognize him, "No." Had he co, nsumed alcohol? "Nothing to alert me." Where was he when you found him? "Bar area. I made no assesment of consumption of alcohol or findings of such.'
On the stand now, called by prosecutors, Melissa Bozeman a paramedic/shift supervisor with HEMSI. Also being questioned by Barnett. 'How long have you been a paramedic? "15 years." Were you working on December 17, 2006? "Yes. William Hall was my partner." Do you remember what other personnel was there? "Supervisor an, , d one other paramedic unit." Do you have a protocol to respond to this type of scene? "Yes certain types of scenes we go into staging mode until police make it safe for us." Had it been cleared? "Yes", . You went in to the restaraunt what did you see, "It was caotic. I saw a paramedic taking care of a patient on the west side of the bar area. I saw a black male patient. I saw another black male patient south of that one sitting. THere was numerous people in the restaurant. The police moved them to one area." Can you describe your impression of injuries? "One patient had some type of head trauma. The black male patient on north end was on his back motionless. We had a 10-77 victim which means dead. The other patient sitting next to the bar was on the floor , talking speaking alert. We later found a 4th patient on the e, ast side of the bar." What is your primary focus when you enter a scene like that? "FInding the patients and severity of their injuries. Then we set up triage. One of the patients was a priority. He needed a breathing tube. The one that was motionless on the floor had no signs of life. I checked him but there was nothing." Do you do a pupil check. "Yes. I saw injury to the head. I couldn't check the left pupil. There was a pooling of blood under his head. I called medical control (physician in the hospital) to call a death in the field." First victim, the deceased what did you do? "I called a death in the field. We do not move that patient. We leave them on the scene for law enforcement for crime scene." Do you know the identities? "No our job is to work on them best as we can." Victim #2, at the bar, what were his injuries. "He was shot in the back, left of the spine. Told him we were going to transport him. I then found a 4th patient on the east side of the bar. He had been shot in the face. I talked to the patient, he was alert talking, we transported him too." Could you describe him. "White male patient." Then you left the scene? "Yes."
Cross examine, Larry Morgan. "No questions."
State calls its first witness. Oscar Gerald Turner, Huntsville Police Officer. He is bei, ng questioned by Shauna Barnett. 'You were called to TGI Fridays the night of the shooting. Yes. 911 call came out on the radio." How close were you to the location? "I was on University west of Wynn Drive, about 2 minutes away." How did you approach the restaurant? "I parked my patrol car away from the front door, went in but I'm not sure if it was with my gun drawn. I first come in the door, went straight in the manager was yelling at me to check everybody for a gun. I was trying to watch the crowd, check the victims, citizens there giving treatment. Once I finished that I started scanning the room looking for offender. Didn't have a name then." Did other emergency personnel arrive? "Yes HEMSI and Huntsville Fire." Describe where you found the vict, im, s. "Up on the top sta, ir, bar area. I think they were in the floor. 2 laying on the floor. Another on his side another sitting against the post." Were people trying to help? "Yes. I helped maintain the scene and gave crowd control. Then I created a crime scene log, documenting police and rescue. Sgt. Clay Warmbroad then took over the scene. I cont, inued to keep the log and get witness statements." Did you turn over your statements and crime scene log? "Yes to an investigator.'
Larry Morgan cross examine. &#, 39;You were the first officer on the scene? Yes sir. Was there another officer on the scene before you got there, 30-40 minutes? Yes. There w, as a uniformed officer in the restaurant before the incident occured? Yes. Who was he? Officer Johnson, I believe. Did Officer Johnson come back to the scene after the call came out? Yes si, r. Tell me again, what time did you receive the notice of dispatch. I don't know. It was dark, say around 7-7:30 pm maybe. As to time and date you are relying on the information from prosecutors? yes. Thank you sir.'
Alan Mann defense attorney, 'This is a tragic case. Before we start we extend our condolenses. Nothing we do can bring those two individuals, Tank Beavers and Thurston Turner, back to life. Nothing. No matter what the state says this is tragic. We all have jobs to do, the state and the defense. You have an incredibly important function in this case. You are the tryer of the facts. This is a matter of life and death. No sugar coating. That's why we have gone to such great lengths to be fair. What happened that night in December 2006 was nothing anyone would plan. The victims had no idea what would happen, not Mr. Woods either. Something went terribly wrong. In a moment, in one thoughtless wreckless instant, lives were lost and changed forever. In that momemnt Jamal Woods reacted and disregarded the lives of others, even his own. What other explanation can you give? Witnesses everywhere. What explanation can you give? How do you explain it in a completely public place? What was he thinking? We would submit he wasn't thinking. We will never at one time ask you to excuse what Jamal Woods did. We are going to try and show you the reason this happened. You are going to hear in this case, insight into the world of a young man that may be different from what we operate in. We ask you to consider it. Woods had a wife, Rotesia Woods, 2 childern, a mortgatge. It is what it is. We expect to lay the cards on the table. The good, the bad and the ugly. A lot of things you hear you won't like about Jamal Woods. That's ok. Its not for you to like its for you to decide a fair and impartial verdict. Woods grew up with an absent father, a mom who did the best she could do, grew up in Los Angeles. I'm, not talking about Malibu. Its an area you don't drive through at night. An area where gangs rule. You will hear testimony about his uncle who he was very close. His uncle was an embedded member of an LA Gang. He learned the rules of the street, their practice if you are going to survive. How disrespect or confrontation must be met swiftly and severely. You can't be pushed around. Those experiences early on shaped who Jamal Woods is. You'll hear testimony of anti social disorder, in which people have disregard for others. A condition that begins at an early age and goes through adult hood. Decisions made on a spur of the moment, no forethought or consideration. People are irritable when hot buttons are pushed. People are impulsive, quick to over react. Will stop at nothing to avoid being pushed around. You will hear how Jamal Woods exhibited those behaviors long before that night in 2006. Consider every bit of evidence in this case. The state will calll all those people but we expect questions and answers be considered fairly what's given to you. What Jamal did is wrong. It was wrong and their are consequenses to pay. I submit to you their are fair consequences. That's why you are here. When things happen you deal with it. You got to lay your cards on the table. That's what we are going to d,, o. You will hear a lot of insight but we ask you to fairly consider it all. The life of another young man is in the balance. Thank you.
Don Rizzardi, Madison County Assistant District Attorney. ''Ladies and gentlemen of the jury and the court, its been a long process to get to this point. Let me start....
'Twas the week before Christmas and all through the town, folks scurried about , and moved around. Some came to Friday's just to meet; others to drink even more to eat. One came in to unwind from his day; six from Athens just to get away. Holiday cheer was heard in the air, as folks ate and drank without a care. That all changed with an innocent wave; from one of the six, named Tanqueray. The wave came from high up at the bar; it made him mad so he left in his car. He came back with the only gun; what followed next a tragedy begun. The shooting started shortly after nine as he snuck up and, shot him from behind. Four were hit two would be dead one in the back three in the head. Recovery would be for Tim and Tory; For Thurston and Tank a different story. The shooter would leave in his Chevrolet; leaving too ma, ny witnesses to mourn his prey. Twas the week before Christmas and in our own town, he ran and hid; Thank God he was found. Heroes were found too upon that day, You'll see them and get to hear what they say."
'The poem was sai, d because this is a holiday crime. Christmas murder if you will. Things were normal as could be at TGI Friday's. A Sunday night. Probably busier than normal. People out doing last minute shopping, celebrations. Around 8:30 that evening the defendant and his party of 4 came into the restaurant, himself, his wife Rotesi, a Woods, 2 friends Brandon Rucker and Chauncey Davis. They were seated at table 11. That's at the right hand side in front of the glass windows. Defendants were there 23-24 minutes when 6 people from Athens came in. As that group of 6 came into the restaurant, some went to the bathroom, others to the bar. As soon as you walk to the bar the seats were occupied by the victims. Tank Beavers knew the defendant's wife, they grew up in the same part of Athens. More than that though, evidence shows they were distantly related. 3 minutes 1 second after Tank came in, Woods walks out of the restaurant. Brandon Rucker walks out and comes back in but not with Woods. Very distincitive. When Woods comes back in, look at the video and pay close attention to his right hand, his t-shirt untucked. Watch his hand. See if you can find something in his hands. Talks to his wife a second then he goes back to the drink station to the back way of the bar, approaches 6 at the bar. Evidence will show he positions himself between Tank and Thurston Turner. He asked Tank why you talking to my girl? Why? Tank's response, "We are cousins." Listen to the lay witnesses who heard exchange between Woods and his wife "All ya'll cousins?" She responds "No." Woods says to Beavers, "I don't play that." Tank is over it, done. Looks forward in his seat and has nothing else to say to that man. Woods takes a step back, lifts his shirt pulls a gun. He only has a moment. Tank turns, at that moment Woods fires a bullet into the eye of Tank Beavers. It went through his eye, through his brain out of his head and into the bar. Thomas Relifrod is hit , by that first shot, undeneath his jaw through his ear goes across the restaurant some 20 feet where the casing was later found. Tank slumps but he's not gone yet. Listen to the testimony. Woods isn't done yet. He turns his arms, fires a shot into the head of Thurston Turner. Hits him in the top of his mouth, shattered his teeth, hit artery in his neck lodging in his shoulder. He falls. He lived 9 days and died as a result of his wounds. Woods wasn't done yet. He then turns and fires 4 shots. One hits a wall. The other one found in the back of Tory Rogers sitting at, the bar, below the left shoulder blade, near the heart. He wasn't done yet. They still got 2 more people with them. Woods turns and aims his gun and shoots but the gun jams. Lis, ten to the testimony of his wife. Now the only person in the gun fight turns and runs. This crowded restaurant scurry. Some under the table, some to the kitchen, some out the front door. Some witness the shooting, the exchange. Some saw the car Woods got into and left. People watched him turn east on University Drive. Police caught Woods at 2 am the next morning. We found him in the company of 2 others trying to hide behind Parkway Place Mall. The evidence shows 4 people shot, 2 died, 2 more go to intensive care, one released the next day the other in comma for 3 weeks. You will hear from first responders, police officers, TGI Friday's employees and patrons, investigators, crime scene investigators, forensic experts. Each one will have importance to this case. After they testify that man right there (pointing to Jamal Woods) was in the restaurant, came and left in a distinctive car, had a gun, shot it and he shot and he shot and he shot. Then he ran. He is charged with 2 counts attempted murder, one count capital murder in the intentional deaths of 2 people in one single act. In the conclusion we will ask you to find him guilty.'
Jury is being sworn in by judge Laura Hall.
'Burden of proof is on the state. They will present first. They have the right to rebutal witness and arguments. The first thing that happenes is opening statements. Both sides give you a road map. They each will think it will take you to their destination, that is their perogative., Its simply a guideline. To determine the true facts, take what comes from the witness stand. You may not consider what the attorneys say as true facts in the case, not opening, questions objections, reason for objections or arguments. Nothing attorneys say are true statements in the case. After opening statements, case, and chief will begin, state present witnesses. Directly examine. Defense will cross-examine. Once the state has put on their witnesses, documentary or other wise, they will rest. Then its the defendant's turn. When they finish, they will rest. State can present rebutal witness. If so, they will be directly examined and cross exam, ined. When the state is giving their case, and the same applies. After the rebuttal is closed. That is the end of the case. Next are closing arguments. The state going first, then defense. The court will charge you on the law as it applies in this case. I will announce the alternates in this case. We have 4 alternates. You won't know who it is until the very end of the case. Don't try to speculate. All of you are jurors in this case , and will continue to be. Until that time to deliberate, don't discuss this case at all with anyone. Throghout this trial you will hear objections, don't be concerned about bench rulings.'
11:00 a, m
A jury has been seated in the Jamal Woods capital murder case. The panel is made up of 6 white females, 6 white males and 4 black females.
Alan Mann 'We need to review what happened her last Friday. We've exa, mined the evidence clearly and exactly. We feel jury selection on Friday was discriminatory. Originally there were 8 black males. 1 was excused. That laeft 7 black males. Then 2 were stricken for cause. That left 5 and then all 5 black males were struck and that leaves none. We challenge all 5 strikes. Despite what the state's belief of body language I don't recall anything that showed a certain tone or voice that was intimidating. In this case after alleged incident, the state still had the chance to talk to the juror in question (had arms crossed in discriminatory way) if they are genuine in their belief folded arms don't make a good juror they had a chance to speak up anytime and raise concern. What's he supposed to do with his hands? There was no reason to strike any black male left on the panel.'
Don Rizzardi's response...'The juror with his arms crossedis an offensive mode. Case law says its grouds for preemptive strike.'
Alan Mann, 'That doesn't hold water to strike every single black male on the jury.'
Judge Laura Hamilton, 'I've considered the defendants motion and gone back through the jury list...I see no cases where body langugae can't be used.'
Alan Mann 'Obviously Mr. Woods is a black male. He's been denied an opportunity to have a fair case in this trial. We take execption to any court ruling you make in this case. There is no pretext in this cas eand its all speculative. We have to select a jury that is fair and impartial in this case. We feel that hasn't been done. Do cross arms mean he's in opposition? We don't believe so. '
'We all want a fair and impartial jury.'
Jamal Woods is now in court. He was escorted in by deputies. Woods is wearing a solid black suit. He was not hancuffed or shackled as hew as led into the courtroom.
Prosecutors Don Rizzardi and Shauna Barnett are also in the courtroom. Seated at the same table is Investigator Michael Leftwich with Huntsville Police.
Friday, the court selected 17 jurors from a pool of 1, 00 , panelists. They will trim that number to 16 before opening statements.
Today marks the sixth day of jury selection in the Jamal Woods capital murder trial. I will begin blogging as soon as the jury is brought into the courtroom.
January 29, 1009
The courtroom is closed to the media as attorneys conduct individual questioning. It doesn't appear a jury will be seated by noon. Check back for updates.
January 28, 2009
Larry Morgan speaking to a male juror...'Do you believe the Constitutaional protection of people should remain in place? "Yes" People sentenced to death should stay on death row for years? You advocate speeding up the process to allow for death? "Every opportunity needs to be taken to ensure guilt. The process shouldn't be drawn out." How do we speed it up? "Its not my job. Its my job to elect legislatures to handle that issue. I can't and won't make the law. I'm an engineer."
'You know that in this case as it relates to the count of capital murder in the trial that the state has the burden of proof. That there must be proof of the elements in the indictment. It relates to the conviction and punishment that might be appropriate. Let's consider a conviction of a capital offense. The state must prove all the elements in the indictment to all satisfaction of aggravating circumstance, at least one. The state has the burden of proving beyond a resonable doubt to the 12 jurors. If the jury finds the state has proven all the elements of the offense and one aggravator, then you know we go into a second phase, that's the sentencing phase. More evidence will be put on. The law is that the defense can prove mitigating factors. In the sentencing phase the defendant can put on anything about the defendants life. We are not limited. The law says the defense only has to prove a mitigating factor to resonable satisfaction of one juror. Do you take issue with that? You will discover in a few minutes that all of you oppose the death penalty will be struck from this jury because death by lethal injection is a legal punishment. That leaves us with people who support the death penalty. We are loaded down in Alabama with jurors who will consider the death penalty. In your mind is that fair? Juror #17 said,&nb, sp;"On one hand he says those who oppose the death penalty will be struck." Yes they will. The law of criminal proc, edure governs how the judge conducts this trial. We don't get , to select the ones we want but rather the ones we don't want.'
Larry Morgan speaking to a female juror...'You said yesterday you could not impose the death penalty. That's based on personal and religious grounds. For the record, know, , ing death by lethal injection is auth, orized punishment could you consi, der imposing death? "I used to think when a person takes a life, yes life should be taken. As I grew I feel like we shouldn't take people's life. It's up to Jesus Christ. I have a cousin on death row. He tells us he', s i, nnocent. He's my family. I can't see giving someone else death. I don't want that in my hands. I can't handle something like that." If it is the law, death or prison? "I can consider life without parole a sentence."
"Juror #58, my notes sa, y you also answered a question on imposing death and you have personal and religious feelings against it. "That's correct." It's the la, w u, pon convicition of a capital offense. If the judge tells you that is law could you follow it and consider death by lethal injection a punishment. "No." Why? "Its personal and religious. Life is precious. No one but God has that right to take it away. I can't take it away. Its very painful we are only here a short ti, me. We are destined to die one day I don't have the right to take a life away." You heard the extreme circumstanc, es I gave, could you consider death as a form of punishment. "No sir."
"Juror # 60...you also answered you could not impose the death penalty. "Close but not accurate. I said I had reservations about the death penalty. I think we need to change it in Alabama. There seems to be people on death row that's found they were not guilty. I believe there is something other than death by lethal injection. I don't believe in it. I'm Baptist and its just not right. On the other hand, my Bible also teaches me to follow the law." You made reference to the innocent folk. Since the death penalty was reimposed in 1976 there have been 130 , people nationwide, investigated, indicted, arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to death row that were found 100% innocent. Five of those are from Alabama. What you are talking about is death penalty is final and cannot correct errors made. "Yes sir."
'Juror # 76...my notes show you answered the question in the same fashion. Death as lethal injection you said no. "Yes that's correct." If you were chosen to be a juror in this case, you heard the evidence and considered lesser included offense(s), the judge says the law is you have to consider a punishment by death by lethal injection or life without parole could you give a fair consideration of death by lethal injection? "No sir." Any extreme circumstance that would cause you to consider it as a punishment. "No sir."
'Juror # 78...again, you answered the same question saying you could not impose the death penalty. Can you tell me the basis of your answer. "Being a Christian the Bible tells me I cannot willingly take another person's life." How about extreme circumstances? "Given , 2 choices (regarding punishment) that would be life without parole." Do you think its an adequate sentence. "I can't recommend death so that' the next best thing." Do you consider it to be a substantial sentence. "Yes I do."
'Juror #46 I noticed you have an issue with the death penalty. , You understand that it is law in Alabama that death by lethal injection is one of 2 sentences subject to capital offense. If your selected to sit on this jury and you hear evidence in this case, the judge tells you the law, and says you must consider and make a vote on the issue. Could you comply with the courts instruction and apply the death penalty. "If it were the only punishment available, no I wouldn't do it." Can I ask the basis of your belief. "Religious." Let's say something like the Oklahoma City bombing happened again, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of people. Could you consider imposing the death sentence. "Nope. If you ask me everybody has the opportunity to change. You always believe and have hope that as Christians people can change."
'Juror #47, is it correct you answered saying you would not impose the death penalty. Why? "Its based on my beliefs. I believe that's between him and God. I can't make that judgement. Taking a life is a tragedy. I have to find it in my heart to forgive. In the midst of it all that decision is based on that individual and our God. I can't express how hard it would be on a family. I can imagine what its like to go through that. I can't agree to take a persons life because they took a life. You can't turn a cheek for a cheek. If I agree to the death penalty I'm the same as that individual. I don't want that blood on my hands." Would a component part of that answer lead you to believe that other sentences be appropriate? "Not in a case like this." Life without parole is possible. "That would be something I would agree too." So that's an approrpiate sentence you could consider? "Yes" Is that a substantial sentence? "I don't know." Do you have children. "Yes" Y, ou celebrate special times with your family? "Yes" Let's consider a situation where a person was convicted of a capital offense and given a sentence of life without parole. They could never get out of prison. No interaction with their children. No school or sporting activities, weddings, family gatherings, etc. Is that a substantial punishment, "Mmm, I don't know how to answer that."
Questioning of the potential jury by defense attorney Larry Morgan continues...
'You haven't heard the evidence in this case yet. Is there a set of circumstances that would allow you to consider the death penalty? You've heard of Adam Walsh, kidnapped, beheaded. Would you consider imposing the death penalty in that case? "That is a horrendous crime." What about a situation September 11th is that a type of situation that would make you consider the death penalty? , What about a situation like Jeffrey Dahlmer. He didn't get the death penalty but somebody (another inmate) killed him in prison. "Yes I could consider it for that case, but probably wouldn't do it." I know you've stated religious convictions do you feel comfortable telling us why you could not impose death. "I personally can't take another life. Everyb, ody has a right to life. Only God should take that." You might consider it in extreme situations but you wouldn't impose it right? "Yes." Juror #19, you answered the question also that for personal/religious reasons you could not impose death. "I am Baptist. I am not charged with taking a life. I don't want that on my hands." Let me ask you once again. Its a legal matter in Alabama --death by lethal injection or life. Can you give consideration in extreme circumstances? Like the Green River killings in Oregon. "I can't consider it at all. It is my basic belief if I can't give a life I can't take a life." Is death the natural deterent to crime? "No." If death was a deterent would we have as many murders? Do you watch the news or read the newspaper? Do you understand the murder rate is still there? "Yes sir." Considering the death penalty is a legal remedy. You und, erstand it is law in Alabama and that it is a legal authorized sentence. Would you be able to , abide by the courts instructions? "I don't know if I could do that. Even if it meant being in contempt. My basic belief is if I can't give a life I can't take a life.'
'Juror #30 are you a native of Columbia? How long have you lived in the US? "15 years". You said you witnessed the shooting deaths of 3 different people. Was that back home in Columbia? "Yes sir." Does Columbia have a strong Roman Catholic base? "Yes." I saw on your questionnaire you are Baptist. You did say you could not vote for the death penalty. That's based on personal religious grounds. Considering that it is the law in Alabama that death by injection is legal punishment in a capital case, if the judge gave you instruction to follow the law could you. "No sir." Also law that its a capital offense to kill in a series of events. "In Columbia we have no death penalty." Could you do it here sir. Could you impose the death penalty? "I don't support the death penalty anywhere in the world."
Court is taking lunch. Jury selection will resume at 1:45.
Larry Morgan... 'There will be evidence in this case of strong language, beverage alcohol from TGI Fridays? Would that prevent you from rendering a fair verdict? (juror) "I drink alcohol some but have no tolerance for those who go overboard" (Mr. Morgan) We will have to wait and see what the evidence shows. Are you a member of an organization that fights for the combatment of alcohol beverages like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)? If there is eviden, ce of alcohol consumption will it affect your ability to render a fair verdict? (response no).'
'There may be evidence that some or all of the parties may have different lifestyles than you (dress, residence, etc) It could be a clash of cultures. Would it affect, you from rendering a fair verdict in this case (no response). Anyone ever heard a quotation, "Give me a child until they are 7 years old and I will have him the rest of my life. I will stop there."
'This next subject I'm going to get into. It has potential for raising some blood pressure. I don't want to do it but I h, ave to. There will be evidence in this case Jamal Woods, born in Los Angeles, mother Susan Ingo, was a student working to support her family. She earned a Masters Degree and now works at the Social Security office in Mobile. Evidence will be while Susan was working on her education, trying to support her family, living in a single parent home, Jamal was born and she needed help. She went to her family. Evidence will show her sister and godmother assited Susan while Jamal was a youngster. At age 8, the family left South Central LA. Evidence will show strong gang influence (Crypts). Wanda Jackson, Jamal's aunt, and uncle Charles Davis have ties to the gang community. He was the leader of the Crypts. While Susan was working, family took care of Jamal, he was subjected to street gang culture in South Central LA. Evidence will show Jamal was never a member of the Crypts. If there is that evidence, will the mere fact that there is evidence in this case that Jamal was subjected to gang culture affect you from rendering a fair verdict? (no response). Do you have understanding the gang culture uses violence to protect their turf? In the gang culture members react to avenge disrespect? There will be no evidence that what happened at TGI Friday's was gang related.'
'Are there any of you who have been or have family members who are victims of violent crimes? This is a case that will not be the greatest example of circumstantial evidence. Instead we have direct evidence. The state will prove to you a lot of circumstances for you to prove intent.'
'We (the defense) will have testimony from a neuropsycholigst from Birmingham. Do you belong to an organization that questions the validity of that practice? If there is evidence in this case that Mr. Woods suffered from a diagnosed condition would it prevent you from rendering a fair verdict?
'There's going to be 12 good jurors to hear this case. It is possible for you to sit on this jury and each one see the evidence in a different way. There has to be a unanimous verdict. You have the right to talk civily with other jurors but you can't make them have the same decision as you.'
'Jamal's aunt lives in LA, his godmother lives in Georgia, and his mother, Susan is sitting on this side. Will you disregard their testimony because they are kin? A handgun was allegedly used in the shooting. Does the allegations that a handgun was used in a public place on a Sunday night at a busy restaurant prevent you from rendering a fair decision (yes, juror #2, , juror #4). "I believe if you use a handgun you should be held accountable. If I pointed one at you, I would pull the trigger. If you pointed a gun at me I would expect you would pull the trigger. Is that what you are asking?" No.'
After a short break, court is back in session.
'Judge talked to you about speaking with attorneys outside of the courtroom. You cannot do that. We are not being unfriendly or unresponsive. It allows you to obtain your objectivety. We talked about the state's witnesses to see if you recognize them. We have witnesses too. Ever heard of Wanda Jackson, aunt of Jamal Woods. How about Dr. Joesph Ackerman, a psychologist? Dr. Allen Sheely, a doctor from Birmingham? When there is testimony from witnesses we expect them to tell the truth. If it appears resonable that the witness is saying something that's not true, the judge will tell you to assign whatever weight you desire. Judge will also tell you if Jamal testifies he has something to gain or lose by his testimony. He has to make the decision. The 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives every person a right against self incrimination. In this case if a defendant doesn't take the stand, you can draw no conclusion from that whatsoever. He doesn't have to do it. The state has the burden of proof. We don't have to prove anything (the defense). The judge read the indictment to you. It brings us to circuit court for the trial. It is not evidence. Under the Constitution any defendant is presumed innocent. Its a legal right. Jamal Woods is presumed innocent. 51 of you have read about this case or know something but you don't have a lot of evidence. He's (Jamal) innocent until proven guilty by the state. If you do not accord him that right of innocence right now, raise your hand. (1 response, juror #37) "I don't think I can do that." My next question, the indictiment is not evidence but do you think it makes him guilty? (no response). That indictiment charges 3 offenses. One relates to the alleged intential killing of Mr. Beavers and Mr. Turner. The next charge alleges attempted murder of Mr. Rogers The other of Mr. Reliford. Each indictment has several elements. The state must prove each element. Will you hold the state responsible for proving each? Do you think the burden is too great? Raise your hand (no response).'
'There are things called lesser included offenses (hidden charge). It can be satisified by the facts that you hear and evidence. If in your consideration you find the state didn't prove offenses, inlcude the lesser included offenses.'
Jury selection continues this morning at the Madison County Courthouse. Defense attorney Larry Morgan is speaking with the potential jury pool.
'Our goal in this case is to try and rise above and do what is right. Our system, is a good one, its not perfect...Let me ask a question. Juror #89 you seem to show when you answered questions on the death penalty it would affect our friendship and relationship in this case. In your respons, e to the questionnaire you made an ecomonic reference to the cost. "Yes sir." I don't want to put you on the spot but let's talk. You are aware of the cond, ition this country is in economic wise. "Oh yes sir I do." Are you aware that state budgets are cut? "Yes sir." Cutting education and other services across the board. "Yes sir." What is your concept of the life without parole punishment? "You go in and stay until the good Lord calls you home." Life without parole is a death sentence is that right? "Yes." Death by lethal injection is what we are talking about when we talk about the death penalty. It cost $2.3 million dollars in Texas a few years ago. Prison costs $750. Which makes the most sense? "Death by prison."
Don Rizzardi, Prosecutor ...'Judge I object. I've been listening to this for 50 minutes. He is arguing the case. If that's, so then we get a chance to argue as well.'
Larry Morgan's response..."Judge I've got a right to examine all those jurors who oppose the death penalty. I need to know who gives consideration of death by lethal injection or life in prison.'
Mr. Rizzardi, "He is trying to influence the people. They need to be influenced by what comes from the stand not from Mr. Morgan.'
Mr. Morgan..."Judge, can I respond to that. Don got into questions concerning opposition to the death penalty yesterday. If he wasn't trying to influence I don't know what's happening. The defense deserves the same right."
Mr. Rizzardi, 'He's convinced her. Now he's trying to convince the other's he is talking too.'
Mr. Morgan, 'Don asked questions yesterd, ay about jury nulification. Meaning the jury would listen to fact listening to law. Anyone going to give a verdict that doesn't apply to the law?'
'In this case there will be evidence some will be photos, people who were injured on this occassion. Photos of verying degrees of being explicit. If there are photos of some wounds, whatever nature showing wounds to the human body will any of you have difficulty with that concept that you could not render a fair and impartial verdict in this case? Can , you assure this court that if there are photos you will give fair and impartial consideration too. If you can&, #39;t do that raise your hand. Don made a very valid statement yesterday. One statement he made you need to use common sense. That is true. Its the sum total of your education and training you have aquired to reach this point today. You are going to hear the facts, have evidence in the form of exhibits. Judge will tell you, what the law is. Will any of you use your common sense to fill in the gaps? Do you understand you cannot use your common sense to fill in the gap? Will you give assurance to the court you won't use your common sense, , to fill in evidence?'
'Without knowing much about this case, as you sit here, are you of such a condition of mind that you could render a fair verdict? If your loved one was sitting at this table would you want jurors of like mind sitting with you now? Are you satisfied you could live wi, th that decision? Being a fair and impartial juror precludes jurors with preconcieved notions. As Don has made reference all the lawyers in this case were once prosecutors. We have a high regard for that position. Any of you believe the attorneys for the state their position as prosecutors would affect your decision to make a fair and impartial verdict. They represent the people. Would that cause you to give geater weight and credibility to the state's side than the defense? '
'Do you follow reports in the news? Police are just human. Two Huntsville Police officers were arrested last year for planting dope on criminals. The Chief took action. There's a police officer from Decatur (Faron White) facing federal charges. He stole money and ran off to Las Vegas. Now, he's in federal custody. There will be testimony from a lot of police officers from Huntsville who investigated the incident. I'm going to list them out for you and I want you to tell me if you know any of the officers. They all worked the case the night of December 17th. I will call Chad Bryant, Tim Pardy Jr., David Hendrix, Joshua Lambert, Michael John Nelson, Jason Ramsey, Ricky Stephens, Shane Turley, Quinn Campbell, Chris Dowling, Gerald Johnson, Donald Long, James Rucker, Gerald Turner, Lt. Cla, y Warmbroad. Do you recognize these names? (2 response).'
'The DA's office has a staff of investigators. I'm going to ask do you recognize them. Larry Smith, Chief Investigator. Harry Renfroe. Rachel Hopper. Kevin Turner. Fred Railey, Roland Grinder, Matt Thornberry. (2 recognize) Will it affect your ability to give a fair and impartial verdict (response is no).'
'There's going to be witnesses that have been made known to us. Do you know the following? Dr. Adel Shaker, Medical Examiner. Crystal Kis, sler, Dept. of Forensic Sciences, Michael Weaver, Morris Brown, Sarah Parrish with the same department. How about Danny Lamont, technician with City of Huntsville. Here are, a few more potential witnesses. Kimyata Summers, Brandon Rucker, Norman Rogers, Chauncey Davis, James Wiser, Amy Mansel, Noel Martin, Tammy Lands, Lauren Robinson, Elizabeth Kinsler, Jim Kirkwood, Shawn Gatlin, Melissa Smith, Ryan May, Lauren Ortez, Patrick Booth, Fred Rhodes, Jacob Beckler, Brittany Ford, Brent Fratezick, Gary Glass, Ricky Long, Miranda Lucas, Tasha Lucas, Joseph McCann, Josh McCulley, Todd Pridmore, Moraiah Stonebreaker, Christy Vickery, Charlene Washington, Adam Zibacku. Anyone recognize these names?'
January 27, 2009
Be sure to watch WAFF-48 News at 5 and 6 for a live report on the court proceedings!!!
Jurors returned from break. They were given further instructions by Judge Laura Hamilton. 'Each of the state's attorneys and defense attorneys will ask you questions to decide the best jurors in this case. There is information they would like to get. We will begin with the state.'
Don Rizzardi, Madison County Assistant District Attorney...'Been here a long time today, take a deep breath. I intend to be brief. I'm goin, g to ask you some questions today that may be embarassing. I will always qualify it by saying I don't want to know who (the person) it is. We are tyring to get 16 peope in these chairs as quickly as we can. We want to be fair to the State of Alabama and Jamal Woods. First thing I want to do is go back to logistics. We will start and finsh at different times., We try to keep bankers hours., '
At this point the State is talking to jurors and asking them questions to try and determine who should be struck from the pool and who should be kept as a potential juror. Court will go until 5:30 then dismiss and reconvene at 9 am Wednesday morning.
'Any of you witnesses in any other case called to trial this week in any court in Madison County? Any other court business you need to take care of this week? By the way, the questionnaires you filled out Monday will be seen only by the court. Then locked in a vault and destroyed at a later date'
'In Alabama there are 2 penalties phases in a capital murder case, life in prison without the possibility of parole or death. Alabama has a 2 phase trial proceeding in which death may be imposed. The same jury handles both phases. First, is case and chief, the jury decides if the state has proved that Jamal Woods is guilty beyond a doubt. If the accused is found not guilty the proceedings are ended fo, r the jury. If he is found guilty the jury is brought back for second phase of trial. The jury will hear more evidence, legal instruction and arguments of counsel on both sides. You will decide the punishment. In this case Jamal Woods has pled not guilty, unless the State proves his guilt beyond resonable doubt. The death penalty could be given because of that possibility. The counsel will ask certain questions about your views regarding the death penalty. That does not mean the defendant is guilty of the crime because the attorneys ask about your attitude regarding the death penalty.'
The judge has asked the court for a break. She is giving more cautionary instructions before the jury is dismissed.
'You must not discuss the facts or rumors with each other involving the case at hand. Do not discuss with anyone the questions asked of you by this court. You are not to engage in any discussions against the defendant, alleged victims, witness, etc. The, c, ourt will ask eac, h time you come back from break.'
'Everyone wants your decision based on the evidence brought forth in this courtroom. Not what you heard about in the media. Do any of you have any interest in the conviction or aquital of the defendant? (no) Do any of you have any preconcieved notions of the defendant at this tim, e? (2 answered yes) Has anyone ever talked to you or told you about these cases? (8 answered yes) Has anyone approached you about these cases before you were called as a potential juror? (3 answered yes) Has anyone contacted you in anyway about sitting on the jury in these cases?
When asked if any of the potential jurors has ever heard of this case over half the jurors stood up. Each one must tell the judge their name and jury number. They will be asked questions by attorneys , outside the presence of other jurors.
'These are criminal cases. Cases brought by the State against Jamal Woods. Mr. Woods has been indicted on 2 counts of attempted murder and one count of capital murder. As for the charge of attempted murder, the alleged victims were Tory Rogers and William Reliford respectively. As for the charge of capital murder the alleged victims are Tank Beavers and Thurston Turner. Under Alabama law, capital murder is defined where 2 or more persons are murdered...As for his answer he has pled NOT guilty. We are proceeding with the trial in all 3 of the charges. All these events are alleged to have taken place at TGI Friday's on University Drive in Huntsville on or about December 17, 2006. With that short description in mind, were any of you witnesses to those events? (no) All criminal cases are started by an indictiment. The State files a charge, presents to grand jury, they find cause and an indictment is returned. It is not evidence against the defendant at any point. It is simply the manner in which a criminal case is done. He is presumed innocent and stays with him unless a unanimous jury decides otherwise. He is entitled to an aquital. This is a constitutional right of any defendant in a criminal case.'
'Bias and predjudices are a normal part of life. We all have some predudice to a degree. However neither the state or defendant or the court want any part of the predjudices to affect these cases. Therefore it is imperative for you to respond honestly. Were any of you on the grand jury of Madison County in June 2007? (no) Do any of you have knowledge about this case? (yes--each juror must tell what they know about the case).
'The defendant in this case is Jamal Woods. This is Mr. Woods standing with one of his attorneys Mr. Alan Mann. Are any of you related to Mr. Woods? Do you know him on a social basis? Do any of you know him on a business basis? Are you related to Mr. Woods by blood or marriage? Do you have a connection by bloodship or kinship to his family? Mr. Woods is represented by one of his attorneys, Larry Morgan. Are you related to him (Mr. Morgan) by blood or marriage? Do you k, now Mr. Morgan in business or have you been represented by him? Know him on a social basis? Mr. Morgan, was once a prosecutor in this county for a number of years. Let me introduce you to Mr. Woods counsel, Mr. Alan Mann. Are you related? Do you know him on a business basis? At any time have you been represented by Mr. Mann? Social basis? Communi, ty, activities? His children or family? Mr. Mann is in a law firm, Johnston Moore and Thompson. There are 4 other attorneys in that law firm. If you can answer those same 3 questions about them please.'
Judge Hamilton has granted motions to release 16 potential jurors due to other obligations that would prevent them from serving on the jury.
'The cases we are about to try are criminal. I'm now about to administer the first oath. You will need to swear to it again. The oath will be on the record. Raise your right hand. Do you swear to answer all questions by the court as a juror so help you God (yes by the jury). Are each of you citizens of the U.S.? (yes) Have each of you been residences of Madison County more than 12 months?(yes) Can you read, write and speak the English language? (yes) , Have you ever lost your right to vote by committing a crime? (no) Have you been indicited or convicted of a felony involving homicide? (no) Do any of you have disease or physical impairment that would make it difficult to serve? (no, one yes) **Juror was excused fro, m service due to medical problem** Are all of you 19 years of age (yes)?'
'I am administering another oath. Do you swear that you will honestly and trutfully answer all questions. from the court, so help you God (yes). The reason for , the questions is to obtain 16 of your number, 12 jurors and 4 alternates who can render a fair and impartial verdict that you take from the stand and the law.'
'I'm introducing the attorneys in this case. The State of Alabama is represented by assistant distirct attorney's Don Rizzardi and Shauna Barnett. Do you know or are you related to Mr. Rizzardi? Have you had business dealings with him or ever been represented by him when he was in private practice? Do you know him from a social standpoint, church, school contacts? Are you related to Shauna Barnett? Do you know her through business dealings, been represented by her? Do you know her from a social standpoint, community, church or school contact? Tim Morgan is our Madison County District Attorney. Are you related to Mr. Morgan by blood or marriage? Business dealings, worked in his political campaigns, represented by him? Do you know him from a social standpoint, commu, nity, church or school contacts?'
The judge has asked the potential jury pool if anyone has a problem serving in the case. Several have said they will not be able due to work, health, and family.
All jurors are present and accounted for as , well as attorneys for the state and defense. Judge Laura Hamilton is presiding.
"Since the court was last convened, have you discussed the facts of this case with anyone? Have you received , any information about the facts, law or participants in this case? Have you viewed the alleged scene of the crime? Have you conducted any investigation into facts or law of the case by internet? Have you or any of the jurors sent or recevied any electronic communication concerning this case? I'm going to give you further cautionary instruction. Because of this trial being c, apital and the issues are so important its necessary we go extra steps so that the information be safe guarded. Do not discuss this case, law or participants in this case with any person unless the court says so. You may not conduct your own investigation in this case. You may not communicate with anyone concerning the facts of this case or participants. If you or a juror to your knowledge does so, it is your duty to report it with no delay. Contact the balif and an inquiry will be made outside of public view not in open court.'
'One thing I've tried to determine , is how long it will take to try this case. By our best estimate on both sides it could take up to 2 weeks. I will not hold court on weekends, Saturday or Sunday. We need a break. No one knows how long this case will last. We simply do not and can not know at this point. We need to know if you can make arrangements to give priority over work and personal obligations. We cannot guarantee it will be over in 2 weeks but know it will go 2 weeks. We know its an inconvience but justice requires such service, of its citizens.'
Jurors are gathered on the second floor of the Madison County Courthouse in what is normally Judge Little's courtroom. All 100 jurors are seated in the middle section. Defense attorneys and their client(s) sit to the left of Judge Hamilton. Across the room, family of the victims sit along the side wall behind prosecutors.
A large number of the victim's family are present for jury selection. Right now we are in "wait mode."
WAFF-48 News is back in the courtroom. 100 potential jurors were told l,, ate yesterday afternoon to report back to the second floor around 1 today to begin the selection process.
On Monday, jurors filled out questionnaires. Prosecutors and defense attorneys were to review answers to the 78 questions from the prospective panel overnight. Attorney's will have a brief question/answer period with the potential jurors before narrowing the pool to 12 regular jurors and four alternates.
Testimony is set for Wednesday.
Be sure to check back for the latest information in this case. We will have full details on today's proceedings tonight on WAFF-48 News at 5 and 6.
January 26, 2009
Jurors have gone home for the night. They were instructed to be back Tuesday afternoon at 1:00. At that time, attorneys will begin striking through the 100 potential jurors in order to narrow the pool down to 16.
Judge Laura Hamilton gave cautionary instructions to the jury before sending them home.
"It is imperative that I instruct you and will do so everyday before I release you to go home. Your conduct during this trial is essential to a fair outcome. There has been much media attention given to , thi, s case. Media never gets all the facts. No way they can get all the facts. Keep this in mind, the media is under no oath to write or speak the truth. They cannot decide the facts of this case or its outcome. That is for the jury. Your decisions should not be based on what you see, hear, read, internet radio or what you are told outside this courtroom. If you see or hear television, newsppaer, interet whatever stop. DO not react. Disregard. Walk out of the room and turn it off. Don't discuss this case with anyone. Put yourself in a bubble. Don't read news articles, emails. Put the newspaper aside. Don't watch the news. Disregard what you see and hear outside this courtroom. Don't let anyone talk to you about the case. Allow the defendant a fair and impartial trial.'
'You will not be sequestered. In other words, you will not be locked up together day and night for the duration of this trial. Non sequestration was agreed on by all attorneys...Again, I urge you to guard yourselves. Be careful to avoid outside opinion or influence. , If anyone violates these rules bring it to the judge's attention. Guard against influence.'
Jurors are back from lunch. Some 100 are gathered in Judge Laura Hamilton's courtroom. Most of the day has been spent filling out questionaires. Each juror must truthfully fill out a 19 page, 78 questionaire before jury selection can begin.
The juror information questionnaire asks such ,, basic questions as the jurors full name, address, job title, marital status, education, and past employment. Jurors must also answer whether they have ever served on a jury, appeared as a witness in any court case, or been accused of a crime. More indepth questions include, do you watch local television news and if so how often, do you drink, alcohol, how often do you drink, do you belong to any organizations or groups that actively oppose or promote the death penalty, and do you personally know anyone who has grown up in a dysfunctional family?
Once the questionnaires are completed, attorneys will begin the , process of str, iking. That will allow the defense and prosecutors a chance to select who they feel is the most qualified pool to hear this case.
Be sure to watch WAFF-48 News tonight at 5 and 6 for the latest on the Jamal Woods captial murder case. Also, you can follow court proceedings on this blog page.
J, ury selection got underway around 9 this morning at the Madison County Cour, thouse. Close to 100 prospective jurors filled out a 19 page questionaire. The 78 questions will allow attorneys to determine which panelists are qualified to serve on the jury that will hear the case.
Background on this court case dates back to December of 2006. Four people were shot inside the TGI Friday's Restaurant on University D, rive in Huntsville. 21-year old Tank Beavers and 27-year old Thurston Turner, both of Athens were killed. Two other victims Tory Rogers and William Reliford survived the shooting. Woods was arrested and charged with capital murder and 2 counts of attempted murder. Woods has pleaded not guilty. He remains in the Madison County Jail without bond.
Don Rizzardi and Shauna Barnett represent the State of Alabama. Both are attorneys in the Madison County District Attorney's Office. Larry Morgan and Alan Mann represent the defendant. Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty.
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