By Patsy R. Brumfield
• Follow Patsy’s live posts from the courtroom on Twitter @REALNEWSQUEEN
TUPELO – Dexter Babbitt insists he saw Travon Brown shoot his cousin the night of Seot. 28, 2011.
Another state witness claimed he was threatened by Brown to sign a false statement in the second day of a double-murder trial in Tupelo.
Immediately after lunch, a state firearms expert, who tested Travon Brown’s Glock 40-caliber pistol and spent projectiles, says the bullets that killed Cornelius Harris and Felicia Ruffin could have come only from that gun.
Before the lunch break, drug use by two deceased persons will not be allowed as arguments in Travon Brown’s defense, Judge Thomas Gardner said outside the trial jury this morning.
Earlier, a Tupelo police detective put the defendant at the scene of a fatal shooting in 2011 during the trial’s first full day of testimony.
Brown, 28, faces two murder counts in the shooting deaths of Cornelius “Snoop” Harris and his girlfriend, Felicia Ruffin, on Sept. 28, 2011, on Chapman Drive in Tupelo.
If convicted, he faces up to life in prison. District Attorney Trent Kelly told the jury Monday this is not a death penalty case.
Brown is represented by Shane McLaughlin and Adam Pinkard. Other prosecutors are assistant district attorneys Brian Neely and John Weddle.
Judge Thomas Gardner presides over the trial.
Jury selection occurred Monday, with 14 people chosen to hear the case – 2 white female alternates, and regular jurors including 10 women and two men, one black of each sex.
As proceedings began about 9 a.m., some 20 people were in the audience, including the district attorney’s mother.
• • •
(Below is a running account from the Lee County Justice Center courtroom. Please excuse the typos and glitches likely as I type rapidly. Some testimony is paraphrased.)
5:18 P.M. (EARLIER POSTS FOLLOW)
3 P.M. – JUDGE RETURNS. State, defense have no issues before jury returns.
STATE CALLS TALBIS REAGAN
[Black man has donkey-ear dreads, low-hanging pants, red and gold-trimmed oversized wool jacket.]
REAGAN – (Questioned by DA Trent Kelly) Remembers night of Sept. 28, 2011. Remembers came into contact with Travon Brown. [Points him out, blue suit with red tie.] (That night contacted him?) Walking to my Baby Mama house, Stopped me and tried to sell me a gun and a machete. We went out separate ways. I walked on Lee Street, said he was going to kill somebody. Thought he meant me. He never told me who. Referring to Travon Brown. (Did he look like today?) No sir. About 8:30 at night. (Showed you the gun. Recognize it?) It was automatic 40-cal. (Recognize it?) Yes sir. That’s it. With the … that’s the same gun.
(Looks like gun in 2011?) Right. (Anything else that night?) Well, I found out shooting went on. My stepdad told me. I was sleeping. Same night we met up in the street. Later. (You told police that night … handing you a statement you gave. Please review.) Sounds about right. (You gave to police on 30th?) Yes. (Accurate of what you remember that night?) Yes sir. (Mention or recall anything about Cornelius Harris?) I never mentioned his name. (Who is Snoop?) Yes. (Did Brown say anything about Snoop?) No sir. (Showing Reagan his statement again. Anything about Snoop?) I mean … yes sir. (What?) He asked me if I knew Snoop, in the street. (Didn’t say he was going to do anything, just did you know him?) Yes. (No further questions.) I was locked up in jail, I just did 6 months in jail.
PINKARD TO QUESTION
(Pinkard – Isn’t it true you signed a statement a couple of months ago?) Yes, reason why I signed the statement …….KELLY – WE OBJECT / BENCH CONFERENCE
District Attorney Kelly takes Reagan back into a witness room to speak with him. [This is highly unusual. Kelly looks very displeased with his witness. Now they’re back in about 2 minutes.]
(Pinkard resumes question – When you were asked to sign statement on Aug. 20 of this case?) Yes, I have been threatened by Travon Brown. (Do you recall that statement that you were in a conspiracy with Dexter Mathis when you made that statement to police?) Yes sir. KELLY – THIS IS FOR ID PURPOSES? JUDGE – YES
(Pinkard – Tell jury is this the statement you signed?) Uh, not my handwriting. Statement I signed … not my handwriting. Signature is signed but not mine. (Pinkard – Submit into evidence) KELLY – WE OBJECT. JUDGE ASKS TO SEE IT. Judge looks through statement. Says – Will send jury to jury room. 3:26
JUDGE – This is D-102 for identification. I have read it. Off-hand opinion is that, first, I don’t see anything tht indicates defendant was in jail at the time. NEELY – PROBLEM IS, HE WAS ABOUT TO SAY HE SIGNED IT BUT THT HANDWRITING IS TRAVON BROWN’S. REASON HE DID IT WAS THAT TRAVON THREATENED TO KILL HIM. If h puts tht statement in, he’s going to have to respond to why he made it, in jail.
REAGAN – ABSOLUTEL. JUDGE -HOLD ON.
PINKARD – I undertand Brown was in jail 23 hours a day. Signed statement in front of her. Not under any duress. KELLY – Think he meant to say, that’s my signature, that’s not my handwriting. He said I signed but I did not write this. JUDGE – I UNDERSTAND.
JUDGE – This opens up Pandora’s Box. How do we know …
KELLY – Document given to us by defense a few weeks ago. WE talked to Mr. Reagan. He said he signed it and reason why he signed it.
JUDGE – Mr. Pinkard, if we go into this. State will be forced to air the whole proposition.
Pinkard – It’s situation. Statement is totally inconsistent to statement he gave to the cops.
JUDGE – Very well.
KELLY – When they do this, is it OK for us to say that Travon Brown was in jail with Reagan, where statement was made. Usually not allowed to say that.
JUDGE – THIS IS MY CONCERN. In order for you to challenge its validity, you must get into things that certainly aren’t helpful to the defendant. I suppose because he was incarcerated on this charge is not shocking revelation to the jury. Not fatal to this case. If defense persists, I will do so. 3:32
Jury returns …
(PINKARD – Ask statement to be entered into evidence. Judge – So marked.)
(When you indicated that statement was signed while you were custody, correct?) Yes. (While you were there, Brown also there?) Pardon me? (Were you awaqare Travon Brown was at county jail while you were there? Awaiting this trial?) Yes sir. (Let’s look at statement … did you read it?) Yes sir, I read it. (Publish to jury … see that?) Yes sir. See it clear. (Point to a couple of places … if you will … see where my pen is? Start reading there?) This don’t make any sense. Why would I read this? (Just asking you to read it.) [Brown having trouble reading it .... ] IT DON’T MAKE ANY SENSE TO ME. KELLY – DON’T READ IT TO HIM.
(Does it not indicate tht you admitted a conspiracy with Dexter Mathis when you told Officer …?) No, I was threatened. I was told I was playing Russian Roulette. That’s a suicide game. (Does this statement indicate a conspiracy with Mathis?) No. (This statement indicates …) Something Travon Brown wrote… I signed because he threatened my life. (This says you were a lifelong friend of Cornelius Harris?) I haven’t been knowing him all my life. (That’s what is says, is it correct?) Yes, what it says. It’s not true. (Signature on Page 2 … your signature?) My name. (Signed in front of a notary public?) No, in cell, not in same cell with Travon. (Someone notarized your signature?) Yes sir. (How long have you known Dexter and …?) About four years. (Snoop?) About 40 years.
(Original statement to Officer Wade. When Brown asked you if you knew Snoop, you said no?) I don’t remember saying that. Something got brought up on me. I do not remember that. (Also, in original statement that you recanted in second, you said Mr. Brown had told you he wanted to see machete and gun?) On Shelton Street, before the shooting. (Did you ask him about buying the gun?) Did I? No sir. I went my way. We split up. (Did you ask him if he wanted to sell the gun?) No. I was trying to get away from him.
(Statement to Officer Wade. Does it refresh recollection about selling gun or not?) He told me he was trying to sell his gun for $30. What he asked me in the street. What it says on the paper. He said he had wanted $30 for the machete. he had on a black hoodie jacket and he had … we walked down Jackson Street. We walked down Leake street. This is mixed up. Those are two different streets. (Did you sign this statement?) I surely did. (Your handwriting?) NO sir. This is police handwriting. (Is that what you told the police?) That’s what I told them. (Did you say that?) It’s got switched around. I said Leake Street. This says West Jackson Street. These are two different streets. I don’t know how this came up. We were on Leake Street. We met on Chapman. This ain’t right. How walking down Leake and West Jackson. No one in the world can do that.
(So, you’re saying you signed two statements, neither you wrote and which aren’t correct?) KELLY – OBJECT.
KELLY – DID I KNOW about those two sttements?) You did.
(What is prevarication?) Prevarication? (Do you know what it is?) No sir. I don’t understand it. That is statement you signed, of prevarication. PINKARD – I THINK QUESTION IS ASKED AND ANSWERED. KELLY – I WITHDRAW.
(KELLY – Did you know you signed … realize you signed a statement of prevarication?) Tht’s not my handwriting. (Look at difference in dark and light. Does it look same?) It doesn’t look the same. (Statement you gave Wade on Sept. 30, 2011 … was it voluntary?) He called me and asked me if I was out there on Chapman Street talking to guy with murder charge. I told it was me. (Did Wade make you give it or on your own?) My own. (Why?) Reason … because you know… me and Snoop were best friends. Reason why I did it. (Talk about this statment of prevarication… you say you were a lifelong friend ?) Means all your life. I haven’t been knowing him … 4 years, not lifetime friend. [Kelly points out sophisticated words in statement, are they yours every day?) No, Travon wrote those. I can’t even think of those words in my head. (Spell them?) May spell them but words don’t come up in my head, do you know what I mean? (It’s important - did you graduate high school?) To 11th grade. Why would you ask that. (Do you have GED?) No, that’s personal question. (Go to college?) No sir.
(He says you said this whole statement is false? True?) This whole statement is true, not false. (Voluntary one?) Yes. One talking to police about. It’s true. (Mark for identification and entered into evidence. Def - no objection)
(This is first statement... to Wade. Voluntary?) Absolutely. (Why signed second one?) Because he was threatening me. Feeling like Russian Roulette. Threatening my life. Anybody would have felt that way. When he told me that. He was saying I might as well blow my brains out. (He personally told you that?) Yes sir, inside the jail cell. I was using the phone but listening to everything he was saying. Lee County Jail, There on misdemeanor charge, serving jail time. Not even suppose to be around this guy. I pleaded guilty. (No more questions.) 3:55
JUDGE - You are to disregard that defendant was in jail. Invalid, has nothing to do with this.
STATE CALLS NICK PAPADIMITRIOU
PAPADIMITRIOU - (Kelly to question) Paramedic, 12 years. Worked various hospitals New Albany and Tupelo. [Describes work as paramedic] Responds to emergency calls. (Sept. 28, 2011 – 1108 Chapman call?) Yes. Responded. With basic partner and supervisor, goes with traumatic complaints. (When arrived, what observed?) Single level dwelling, front door wide open. Tupelo police secured scene. We parked. Entered the house. Front door moderate blood on floor. Stepped over it. Made way to two patients, both deceased. 4:01
(Photos?) 1108 Chapman. (Photo?) Inside front door… blood on the floor. (Any footprints?) Maybe a couple. Some … 3 tiles in. (Blood disturbed?) Smeared. (How?) Upon entry, there were towels behind the door. On inside of door. (Blood on door?) No. (Photo. Looking inside door. Blood on door?) Kind of hard to tell. Not initially. (Copious amounts?) No sir. (How about this photo?) Blood yes, (Came later?) Yes. (When got there, blood on door?) No, positive.
(When you arrived, you went in. Two people?) Don’t remember names. Male and female. (Any signs of life?) No sir. (Any live person there?) In living room, no. (Did you see Travon Brown?) Not initially. He was brought out from a back room, possibly a bath room. Brought to front of house where we were. (Did you treat him?) He had red soaked rag around hand. He was cuffed. Removed the towel to see his injury. We went to move him, no life threatening injuries. (On gurney?) Said he felt faint. Looked at floor and doorway and fell to the ground. Wilted to the ground. (Were you walking with him then?) Hand under his left arm, bicep area. (Did he fall?) He looked a ground and wilted. Under his own control, his own muscles. Kind of went to ground. Wasn’t dead weight. Right in doorway.
Slid Brown onto spine board, onto stretcher and slid him off porch into ambulance. (Who there when you arrived?) Tupelo officers, my partner and supervisors. Uniformed officers. (Notice un-uniformed detectives?) No. Concentrating on patients. 4:09
MCLAUGHLIN TO CROSS-EXAMINE
(Travon had injury to hand?) Yes. (Lost a lot of blood?) Towel thoroughly soaked. Couldn’t say how much. (Pain?) Said he felt faint. (By time he walked out door, no active bleeding?) I don’t know when it stopped. He walked from bathroom. Didn’t appear in distress. Didn’t see active bleeding, maybe once he fell. (Photos. Small section of door and interior. Blood on deadbolt?) Couldn’t say. Don’t know if it’s blood. (Show him photo. See anything looks like blood?) Hard to recall from this picture. Don’t have much memory of blood on door. See a color red but don’t know it’s fluid. (Something else … isn’t door.. has three windows in it?) Believe so. (Photo. See one pane of glass… now here all panes of glass?) Yes. (Is this the one with blood on door… is that how it was when you arrived?) Far as I recollect, no blood on the door. Moderate amount on floor. (No curtain covering door?) Don’t recall. (NOTHING FURTHER.) 4:14.
STATE HAS NO QUESTIONS.
STATE CALLS MR. DEXTER BABBITT [This is name brought up as “conspiracy” with Talbis Reagan ... not Mathis]
BABBITT – Lives in Tupelo. (Neely questions.) (Know Snoop?) My nephew. Known him since I was 34. (Tell me if person on audio is you. Understand?) [E911 call near 1113 Chapman ... needs police} Yes sir. (What doing?) I came to my house 1113 Chapman. Quiet and train come. Heard a shot and so I gave somebody a car. Hear another shot and see a flare. It’s in my nephew’s house. Don’t know address. 1108 Chapman. When saw flare, my mom came to door and saw me in street. Said don’t go. I listened to her. See some scuffling. Mom ... I don’t know if she saw it. My mind ... my focus was there. (Then?) Saw scuffling coming on ... saw through window. Struggling. Made it to the door and curtain fell. I know my cousin. When he stepped out door, he was grabbed and shot.
(Who?) My Mama’s nephew. I saw Cornelius. He opened up the door. He turned to me, he was backing in and he was grabbed. (Saw person?) Yes. In courtroom. Travon. (Pointing to defendant. You called 911. Shows him photo of house, where you standing?) Outside in road, you can’t see it in that picture. (Look at photo. Where is your house?) Right across the street. (Street in front?) Yes. My driveway is at the end of that fence. (Where were you when you saw this?) Right at end of driveway. I was standing right there. (Called 911?) Soon as I heard second shot and knew it was fight. My voice. No doubt. (You hung up?) Yes. My phone was out of area and had to redial 662911. (Why did you hang up?) Cause I saw police coming down the street. Wanted to point to where to go. Directed them to house.
(Step by step. What did he do?) He opened door, put one foot down and he was snatched back in. When he was shot. I would see gun somewhere in his head somewhere. Lower back of skull. [Babbitt pointing to side of his head, upper neck] (Photo. That what you saw?) Yes. (Where you saw him shot?) Yes sir. (Then?) He was shot and police coming o scene. But I could see a view and heard a last shot as they were coming in. (Cousin shot in head. What?) He fell. Only thing move, when Travon, he tried to shut the door but Cornelius’ feet were in the door. When he tried to shut it, feet just banged. He kicked his feet and then he shut the door. Then another shot 5-10 minutes.
(Curtain?) Knocked it down when struggling. When he was shot, curtain was getting put up… Travon Brown, over the window. I was looking at him. Heard another shot. (Where was Snoop?) On ground. Six or seven minutes. Struggle … know my cousin. No doubt (Any doubt tht Travon Brown shot your cousin in back of head?) No doubt. Saw it with y own two eyes. Saw his feet sticking out after he’d been shot. (Photo. Saw through the door?) I couldn’t see through the door. But that was him laying that way. (Then?) It was like movement toward back door but couldn’t find no way out. Officers had arrived. (Then?) Then, I seen … get to ambulance. I’m like, somebody is in red flannel shirt. (Why important?) Both had white shirt on – Cornelius and Travon. (What kind?) Both white shirts.
(When Brown came out, shirt different?) Yes. Didn’t know it was him until I looked around. Said he went and changed shirts. He had time to change. Recognized it. Told officer. That guy changed shirts. Couldn’t identify him… on stretcher. Ambulance there. (When identified him?) When he looked out the window at me. When I knew him. (Any doubt you saw Travon Brown shoot your cousin, Snoop Harris in the back of head?) No doubt. (You called 911?) Right. (You were on scene from first shot until Travon Brown was brought out on the gurney?) No doubt. 4:32
MCLAUGHLIN TO CROSS EXAMINE
(Sorry have to ask you this? Have you been convicted of a felony in past 10 years?) Yes sir. (Sale of cocaine?) NEELY OBJECT – NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS CASE. JUDGE – GO AHEAD
(Sale of cocaine in last 10 years?) I did time for that. (Sorry to ask it. Ask this document be marked. It’s circuit court record.) (Don’t mean to embarrass you. Sentencing order … on screen.. 20 years in prison, some suspended, some to serve. Weddle represented you in that.) Yes. (Cornelius was Snoop, first cousins, close?) Yes. (Sometimes referred to each other as brothers?) Yes. (*When you heard shot, you were in car in driveway?) Yes. (Across the street?) Yes. (You’re sitting there and heard shots behind you?) Yes. (Facing opposite direction… called 911?) Yes.
(Plays 911 tape.. have some questions… happened fast?) YES. Called 911 when heard second shot. (Says he’s outside and doesn’t know how many people were involved? You said I don’t know.) I said I don’t know but shooting across the street. (Did you say just heard it?) I said across the street. (Said I don’t know…) I’m talking to my mother. (It’s at Snoop’s house? Tape says I don’t know.) (Did you hang up the phone?) She said they were en route, they were coming down the street. (By the time you talked to 911, all this had happened… you’d seen shots, seen Snoop in front door by Travon Brown.) I said Snoop came to door, he stepped outside, snatched in and shot. (You saw it?) Yes. (You identified it… couldn’t close door because of feet. He kicks feet?All happned when asked how many?) I didn’t know. (You told 911, just heard shooting?) Yes. (You were in car faced other way? Still you said I don’t know. Right?) Right. (NEELY – MAY WE APPROACH? / BENCH CONFERENCE WITH JUDGE. 4:41
(McLaughlin – after you say you saw Brown shoot, 5-7 minutes later you heard last shot?) Yes sir. (Had police arrived by then?) NO, they were coming down street. It was while I was on phone with 911 when last shot rang out. (Said Cornelius on ground 5-7 ninutes before final shot?) Yes. (You said you called 911 … didn’t talk 7 minutes?) When hung up, there was another shot when police were coming down the street. I hung up. Was a shot. (How could it be tht you called them immediately when heard shots. Talked to 911 and police coming down road?) That’s what happened. (But you say Cornelius on floor for 5-7 minutes while Travon tried to shut the door?) He tried to shut the door. (You called within seconds when heard first shot?) Second shot, when I called 911. When I saw flare. (Matter of seconds?) Yes. (Police arrive fast?) I don’t know. (Why you hung up?) Saw them coming down the street.
(Person you saw in door and snatch person in? You gave police description of assailant?) Yes. (Signed a statement?) Yes. (Now know you told police that person who snatched other person in … the aggressor was wearing a white t-shirt?) Both of them wearing white t-shirts. No doubt. I raised him up. He gave me an good opportunity to see that person and him. (True, you were across the street.) Yes. (Dim lit area?) Yes, but lights on in the house. (When you talked to detectives after you saw what you saw … was it fresh in your mind?) Fresh in my mind now. (But fresher then?) Yes. (Did you tell them what you told jury today?) Yes, I did.
NEELY – WE WILL OBJECT ABOUT STATEMENT. MCLAUGHLIN Going to ask him to read it. OBJECTION OVERRULED
(McLaughlin – I’ve got a large copy of your statement. Is this a copy of one to Wade?) Don’t know. (Look like your signature?) Can’t read it. (Ask to mark so I can ask him questions about it.) (Going to read this for you. If this is what you told Wade? I pulled up about 11;35… heard three shots from cousin’s house.. Cornelius … still in car when heard shots. I jumped out and called E911. Looked over at house and saw someone trying to run out the door. Did you tell him that?) My cousin, he was trying to run out the door. I said someone, they were writing it. (Is this correct? Tell them someone?) It’s Cornelius. (Did you tell Wade what I read?) Was Cornelius. (Saw someone grab him and shot him, threw blanket over door. The guy was black male with long hair and had white t-shirt on. Is that right?) Yes.
(Your testimony today … Travon must have switched shirts?) Yes he did. (Photos show he was wearing something different?) What photographs? (When You saw him, he was wearing a white shirt?) Yes he was. (Who snatched person, wearing white t-shirt?) It was Travon. (Do we agree tht whoever did the snatching was wearing a white t-shirt?) YHe was wearing one too. (Can we agree?) He was snatched by guy with a white t-shirt on. (This statement, made 1255 a.m. on 29th, 20-30 minutes after incident… about hour 20 minutes?) Yes. (Short time after?) Time on mymind is two years. Remember it better back then. (Did curtain or whatever … did that stay on til police arrived?) Yes it did. They kicked door in and all that came down. (Did you see it?) I don’t know. My mind won’t even focus on that. I was out of their way.
(Not arguing with you … did you hear those shots like you told 911?) Heard shots from my driveway. (*Haven’t you told us a lot different things since then?) No. (Did you tell Wade you could identify the shooter?) I know who did it. (Did he just neglect to write it?) I don’t know. (Did you tell Wade that?) Yes. (Did you see struggle?) When got out of car, I saw struggle at window. (Were shots fired then?) They were intertwined, could see arms moving. Saw Cornelius trying to come out that door. Feel like he was trying to get away from somebody after him, Travon.
(When you saw the struggle … were shots fired during that?) It was shots fired too, during struggle. (Been to Snoop’s home. Know back door. How far from front?) It’s a long way back… to get into his bathroom. (You mentioned somebody trying to escape?) It had a groove in it and had to pull it. Guess he was so weak he couldn’t get out. (Heard that?) Yes, police were coming down the street when he was tugging. (Police on the way?) There on my road, but not at house yet. (When heard this tugging, you had been on phone with 911?) No, I’m listening now. I told them I heard somebody trying to get out back door. (Didn’t you stop 911 call when saw police on street?) Terminated call when police saw me, said somebody trying to get out the back door. Police pulled up and went straight to that door. (Who told that?) I don’t know.
(5-7 minutes after shooting?) Yes sir. (Truth is, you want somebody to pay OBJECTION – TRUTH IS why you’re saying this, you want somebody to pay for death of beloved cousin.=?) Yes. (Since then, made t-shirts with his image?) Yes. (Group of friends involved with celebrating his life, had barbecue?) YES. (May I approach witness?) NEELY – OBJECT. SHOWS DOCUMENT TO JUDGE. JUDGE – OVERRULED.
(McLaughlin – To receive into evidence … Show you some photos. They are hard to see. NEELY OBJECT – WILL YOU ALLOW COMMENTS? THIS IS FACEBOOK POST. CLEARLY HEARSAY. JUDGE – Take off comments. McLaughlin – will redact.
(Is that you in the picture?) Yes. (Nothing wrong with it. You had close relationship with Snoop?) Yes. (Saddened with his passing?) Yes. (Mean to have Travon Brown punished?) Yes.
NEELY – RE-DIRECT
(Neely – Go over a few things. You made statement shortly after cousin shot. Short sttement?) Yes. (More details later, second statement?) That was longer? (Neely has document marked for identification. OBJECT TO HEARSAY.) JUDGE – To whom was this made. By whom? Neely – To one of the investigators. McLaughlin seen it. OBJECTION OVERRULED.
(Neely – Shows Babbitt document. Your signature?) Yes. (Longer than other?) Yes. (Do you read?) Not well. (Neely reads it … 9/29/11… about 11:35 p.m. arrived at house across from cousin’s house. Inside vehicle and heard several gunshots fired from his house. Blanket over window. Lights on in Living room. Saw several flashes from gunshots and heard shots. Strted to call 911. Looked at house. Saw struggle. Two shadows, moved toward front door. Saw door open and witnessed my cousin trying to run out away from Travon Brown. Blanket fell down. Door open. Saw black male… was Travon … grab Cornelius and pull him back into the house. Saw Travon Brown shoot him in doorway. Saw Cornelius fall to right. Travon picked up blanket, put it over glass. Shut door and started pacing through living room. About minute, heard one more gunshot. Police showed up. Stayed outside. Got good look at Travon. Same person I saw shoot Cornelius inside house. Signed. Is that your statment?) Yes sir. (Ask admitted into evidence.) JUDGE – Will allow defense counsel to cross on statement only.
(Neely – Posts statement on overhead. Your complete statement?) No doubt. (Two years ago. Do you remember if it was 2 minutes or 6 minutes?) I was trying to see what was going on. (You got asked a whole lot of questions … person trying to run out might have been Travon Brown. Show him photo of dead cousin. What you saw?) Yes sir. (Is that your cousin laying dead?) Yes, my cousin laying dead. Exactly. (Photo shot in head. Isn’t that what you saw?) Exactly. OBJECTION – LEADING. JUDGE – ABSOLUTELY.
(Neely – Did you call 911 once or twice?) Two times. (Very important. We heard 911 tape.You hung up. Had they come out door before you hung up or while you were hanging up?) While I was hanging up. (Not talking to 911?) They was coming down street then. Tried to call 911 back. Guess when I dialed it went through. but I had to call back again with 662. She was talking to me, she called me back. I said officer is right here. Still on the scene. In street. 5:14
JUDGE I DO’T KNOW HOW LONG THIS WILL BE BUT IT’S AFTER 5 P.M. We can do this if you say it … McLaughlin – could start back at 9 a.m.
JUDGE – EXCUSE JURY UNTIL 9 A.M. WEDNESDAY.
• • •
2:40 P.M. (EARLIER POSTS FOLLOW)
1:13 P.M. – JUDGE enters. Asks either side if it has anything before jury returns. Nobody has anything. Jury arrives a few minutes later.
STATE CALLS DR. ERIN BARNHARD (Weddle to question)
BARNHARD – State deputy medical examiner. Gives her educational background. Forensic pathologist. Determine cause and manner of deaths. Makes opinions based on autopsy findings. Says has testified as forensic pathologist over 20 times. (Weddle tenders her as expert as forensic pathologist – Def has no objection or questions)
(Weddle – Asks her to consider case number, autopsy Sept. 29, 2011. Do you recall this?) Yes, Mr. Cornelius Harris. (Also another case, same day?) Yes, I do. Felicia Ruffin. (Questions about autopsies. Have reports before you. Asks her to identify copies of autopsy reports.) Yes, copies of reports of those two cases. Appear to be accurate copies. (First report, marked and received. Def no objection.) (Second report, marked and received. Def no objection.)
(Asks her to explain procedures of autopsies she conducts. She does so.)
(Weddle has photos to show her. First case, Harris. General info?) Yes, 22 years old, black male. Three gunshot wounds. Generally, to back of lower head/upper neck, left shoulder and right hand. (Do you collect projectiles in the body?) We do and we did. (Shows her photos. Asks her to discuss.) Yes, from Mr. Harris’ autopsy. (First, receive into evidence. Def no objection.) (About 12 photos) (First photo?) ID tag on arm. (Both sides agree bodies received for autopsy were those of Harris and Ruffin.)
(Questions about Harris’ wounds. Shoulder area.) That is the wound [she says about photo on screen] (Another of wound, closer.) It is. [Close up photo is a bit ugly] (Exit wound?) Not. Found projectile in shoulder area. (Another photo.) Of the projectile recovered from his shoulder. (Photo of his hand) Gunshot to Harris’ right hand. And closer view. His wound is associated with a partial exit wound. A portion of the projectile exited. Beneath the skin, part of it remained. (Photo?) Partial exit wound on his hand. See faint outline of projectile under the skin. (Photo?) That is the jacket and some fragments of plastic recovered from his hand. (Third wound?) Entrance wound on back of his back neck/lower head area. Closer look. Our forensic photographer takes these at our direction. (Photo?) That is the projectile recovered from Mr. Harris’ neck.
(Projectiles) All the same. (3 other envelopes to identify.) I am familiar with these. (What are these?) Projectiles associated with the wounds of Mr. Harris. (Received into evidence) (Same projectiles as in photos?) Yes. (Where else did they go?) Once projectiles go to Crime Lab, it’s up to law enforcement agency to order tests. (Determination of cause of death of Harris?) Gunshot wound. (Opinion on manner?) Homicide. [She explains various options she has in manner of death, like accident, homicide, suicide, undetermined]
(Asks her about Ruffin case. Shows her photos to identify.) Photos from Ruffin autopsy. [BTW, Barnhard is a young, slender blond with her hair pulled back in a small bun. She’s wearing a gray pant suit and gold jewelry.]
(Photo?) ID tag on ankle of Felicia Ruffin. (Photo?) Left side of her face. Gunshot wound to lower face/neck area. (Photo?) Closeup of wound. (Appears to be some markings around wound?) We refer to those as stipling. It’s for small abrasions caused by most often by material from the muzzle of the gun. Also, caused by impact if bullet goes through something else. Generic term for abrasion around the wound. (Appears some discoloration below the wound. What is that?) Yes, it is a piece of coloration. Partially post-mortem, livermortis which outlines the track of the wound, and settles there. (Photo?) Abrasions on her left shoulder area. Larger than stipling on her face. (What is the case?) No way to determine with any certainty. (Closeup?) Same injury, left shoulder.
(Does that injury pierce the skin, by bullet?) These are superficial. We call abrasions. Just surface of the skin. (Photo?) This is the bullet retrieved from Ruffin. (Envelope contents?) Bullet retrieved from Ms. Ruffin. (Received – Def no objection) (Projectile?) From her body, consistent with the photo. (Ever deal with trajectory of projectiles?) Yes, in each case. With both of these. (Ruffin, trajectory of hers?) Trajectory was front to back, left to right and slightly downward. Bullet came to rest … from her spinal column in the neck. (Did that contact her spinal cord?) Boney part of spinal column. If boney is injured, so will the spinal column. (Spinal cord function, if it is injured there?) Paralysis, higher in the cord it is, the more severe the injury. People with neck fracture and spinal cord injury, will see paralysis from neck down.
(Trajectory of Harris?) Neck area – back to front and right to left. (Any involvement with Vital Records?) No in MS, done by Health Dept. 1:50
(May seem like silly questions, but because in MS we must establish elementary facts. Bodies you examined … they were humans?) Yes. (Deceased?) Yes.
ADAM PINKARD TO CROSS-EXAMINE
(Pinkard – A few questions. Manner of death. On both, it was homicide. How do you decide that?) It is a death through actions of another person. (Not murder?) Murder is definition that we leave to the legal courts. (No other basis?) Just by our autopsy findings. (Photos – identified stipling. Do you know about pseudo-stipling?) Pseudo means false. Stipling is a vague term. More specific term, most specific is powder tatooing… marks caused by gunpowder. Stipling refers to these abrasions around the wound. Pseudo-stipling, in contrast, are marks that may be … abrasions… but can be wounds caused by sutures … ant bites around a wound … tend to mimic stipling.
(Is it possible that what you call stipling could be hemorhaging?) No. One comes from above, other comes from below. (Stipling … is it uniform?) No, only if muzzle is purposefully perpendicular. On an angle, it will be irregular. (Markings on Ruffin shoulder, could not identify cause?) That’s correct. (That’s all.) 1:56
WEDDLE HAS RE-DIRECT
(Did you see any pseudo-stipling on Ruffin?) No. (Shows photo of her face and wound … Stipling marks and discoloration next to the wound. Is discoloration?) Follow the wound path inside her body where blood settles… inside showing out. (Other stipling?) From outside in. (Any doubt?) No. 1:57 p.m.
STATE CALLS MARK BOWACKLE (Weddle to question)
Bowackle – MS Crime Lab, firearms examination specialist. About 7 1/2 years. Expertise, firearms examination, especially whether projectile is fired from a certain gun. Also distance determination. [Explains his educational background and training] (Tenders him as firearm expert. No objection as firearms expert, McLaughlin says.)
(Weddle – examinations related to case?) Yes. Asked to perform … classify projectiles. To determine its caliber and rifling. Compare it and shell cases to determine if fired from submitted firearm. (Info from report) Compared casings to gun. (Exhibit, box, identify?) I can identify by Crime Lab case number. My initials on bar code. (Is this firearm which you were asked to conduct studies on?) Yes it is. (Envelope?) Yes. Contents – test-fire envelope. Test-fired gun using Lab ammunition into water tank. These are compared against submitted projectiles or bullets and cartridge cases. (Received – Def no objection)
(Can you identify contents of bag?) Empty magazine, lab case number on it, my initials. (Other exhibits in small bags. Identify?) Identifies them as submitted to Crime Lab. [4 exhibits] (Shows him 7 more items for his identification. Recognize?) Yes, all from Crime Lab with case numbers, submission numbers, my initials and dates. These are cartridge cases. (Look at clear envelopes?) Projectiles and bullets. (Origin of them?) These were submitted from autopsies.
(Exhibit, one more. Describe?) Brown bag with Crime Lab case number, my initials and date. Opens … 3 cartridge cases. (All items you used to test that weapon?) Yes.
(Take us through testing of weapon.) Projectiles submitted and received. Asked to classify – caliber and rifling. (From the autopsy?) Yes. Compared against a known bullet. Rifling is cut on inside of barrel. Puts spin on inside of barrel and marks are transferred onto the bullet. How many grooves, direction of spin. These were rifled … in this case … more rounded off. When I compared it against a 40 caliber with these grooves and rifling, they had the same characteristics. 4, 5, 7 were same.
(Wht relevance does that have to this firearm?) Class narrows down what kind of gun fired them. Test-fired this firearm. Compared test fires from it to those projectiles…. they had the same class. … Did not determine they were from same gun. Next test, looked at individual characteristics of this gun. Test-firings were identical to projectiles from autopsy.
(Report?) Magnified images from this gun were entered into the system. Compares the markings if this gun was used in more than one crime. (Received – Def no objection) (Let’s look at casing in those sacks. Analyzed them?) Yes. (Findings?) Used comparison microscope .. can compare case on one side and tested one on another. Can look for these individual markings. I determined … they were fired in this gun. This gun and only this gun. [Enters report into evidence - Def no objection] 2:24
(Projectile or partial from Harris’ hand. Anything different about it?) Not a complete projectile, it’s a jacket. Bullet and lead portion with copper jacket around it. When bullet hits something hard, not uncommon for bullet to separate. Mutilated … couldn’t ID to gun. Had similar characteristics, but couldn’t say for sure what gun it came from. (From Ruffin and others from Harris, neck and shoulder … linked to this weapon?) They were fired from the submitted firearm. Casings submitted were fired from submitted firearm. From this gun. (One general question … about this weapon. Semi-automatic?) It is a Glock Model 22, 40 caliber. (Familiar with it?) Yes, I am.
(How it operates, loaded and fired? Do not load it) It is magazine fed. Magazine inserted into the grip of the gun. The top or slide is released forward. Comes over top of magazine and loads one cartridge into the gun. Then it is loaded to fire. Gun has a double action – Pulling trigger pulls and pops striker … the firing mechanism. Pushes bullet down barrel. Can only be fired for each pull of trigger. Must release trigger to fire again. (Opposed to automatic… if you hold down it continues to fire?) No. Only one bullet is fired when you pull trigger.
(Ask you to remove firearm from the box. Possible to pull slide back without loading it?) Yes. (Demonstrate how one projectile is placed?) [He shows them how it works... one cartridge or magazine with multiple cartridges] (Asks him to show how it’s loaded and cocked.) ]He shows them and places gun back into box] 2:32
CROSS EXAMINATION BY MCLAUGHLIN
(McLaughlin – you say projectiles given to you were fired from that pistol?) Yes. (Spent casings given to you came from that pistol?) Yes. (Would you know circumstances about its firing?) No. (You showed us that bullets were 15-round magazine?) Yes. Saw submitted projectiles. (No way to look at this cartridge … in what order they were fired?) No, I cannot. (Some information that shots fired from an angle. Can you say … OBJECTION – MISREPRESENTTION … JUDGE – OVERRULES. (Any test you can do to tell us if the gun muzzle was at an angle or perpendicular?) I have no idea how gun was fired. (Can you tell from projectile?) No, I do not. (Something unique about this gun’s safety?) It’s passive … means shooter does ot have to manually move safeties around to be engaged. One is dropped, prevents firing. Other is trigger safety, requires 3 parts … bar must be pushed in or won’t fire. (Different from others?) Some have and some don’t. Doesn’t have a manual safety that holder of gun must move back and forth.
(If pistol was on the floor, is there a button to flip to fire?) No manual button. If one in the chamber, all one had to do was pull the trigger. 2:37
WEDDLE ON RE-DIRECT
(Weddle – familiar with this model gun?) Yes. (Talked about safeties … aware of testing this gun went through as far as safeties?) Guns are tested at the factory. If dropped, gun prevents the primer from pushing the bullet out of the barrel. (If gun’s loaded and one in the chamber, will it fire if dropped?) No. (Must it have deliberate trigger pull to fire?) Yes. (Any other way?) No, it’s not. (Semi-automatic … must pull trigger each time?) That’s correct. 2:39.
• • •
11:55 A.M. POST (EARLIER POST FOLLOWS THIS ONE)
10:58 A.M. – Judge back. Asks Weddle if he found what he was looking for. Weddle tells him he thinks they will be able to stipulate to something when jury returns.
(Detective Garrett still on the witness stand.)
(Weddle – Picks up a bag. Exhibit 92, driver’s license of Brown, ask it admitted to evidence. McLaughlin- no objection.) State passes witness to defense.
(MCLAUGHLIN to question – asks Garrett about questioning of Brown. Posts on screen, document … Brown signed before statement. Did you go over it with him?) I did. (Did you say he didn’t have to talk to you, get a lawyer?) Yes. Why I had him underline it. (Did he want to talk to you?) He did. (Did he say what happened?) Yes. Statement. (That statement was after you went over his rights?) Yes. (You had it typed?) Yes. (Happened 28th, you started probe 29th?) Yes. (Anybody else take a formal statement?) No. (What about recorded statements?) Two previous.
(When you took picture, had you talked to him?) No. (He said he and Snoop were playing X-Box, that was after you went ot scene?) Yes. (When you were on scene, you didn’t know about X-Box so you weren’t looking for it?) Correct. (Shows photos … Are they photos of alleged crime scene?) Yes. (Do they show accurate condition?) Yes. (To admit – State no objection)
(Posts photos … couch area. Can you tell … what that is?) X-Box football game. (Condition couch was in that night?) It was. (Over here, what is that?) Believe it’s jacket that goes inside the disc. Don’t know what you call it. Related to X-Box game. (You saw it as X-Box football game?) Yes. (Kind Travon said they were playing before the fight broke out?) It is. (Another hoto … see white plastic object under a chair.) X-Box controller, on floor. (In Travon’s statement, he told you Cornelius got mad, threw controller at him?) Yes, he said that. (Do you know where they were seated?) I don’t recall. (Didn’t you find out Travon was in this seat and Cornelius and Felicia were on the couch?) I don’t know. If it’s in the statement, I can point it out.
(But this is X-Box controller under chair?) Yes. (Another photo – what is that, stack of something?) Most were X-Box games. (Am I correct that we happen to have photos of X-Box paraphernalia in your scene?) Yes. (You weren’t out there to photograph controller etc.?) Right (You weren’t looking for them were you?) Correct.
(Do you agree that investigation … at scene… was indicative of a struggle for that firearm?) Can’t say. (What you were looking at… you can’t say a struggle?) Can’t prove it or deny it. (Other photos … are they photos from Chapman Drive house?) They are. (Do they accurately depict condition of scene when you were there?) When I was there, yes. (Admit – State no objection)
(More photos … have questions. Two flags in photo?) Yes. (Shows him. What are they?) Holes in wall. (Bullet holes?) Can’t say. (Treat them as such during investigation?) What I did was they appeared to be same size as bullet holes so I treated them as such. Appear to be. (Did you test them?) No. (Because you took it they were bullet holes?) Not tested but wanted to capture them as images. (You know 40 caliber slugs, they look like entries from that>?) Yes. (One low?) About 6-=8 inches. (Appears to be blood. Ruffin isn’t near this hole?) No. (Another way up here above a family photo?) Yes. (How high were ceilings?) Not sure. Guess … standard prob 8 feet. (How far is that hole off ground?) About 7 feet. (Anybody near it?) No.
(Another hole … flag and another hole. Is that bullet hole?) Another hole, possibly bullet hole. (Same size as you’d expect 40 caliber to make?) I thought it was possible. (Looking at the front door … if I’m facing the door, this bullet hole is right in front of me?) Yes. (Other holes we looked at … are they in opposite wall, behind me?) If looking at TV, yes. (Not same as front door wall?) Yes. (Different wall?) Yes. (Was muzzle pointed in different directions to fire them?) Correct. (How far off ground is this hole… by front door?) 2-21/2 feet off door. (Anybody there?) No.
(Another photo … flag… describe?) Another hole in wall above back bedroom. (Where is this in relation to other holes?) In house you can see bedroom from living room. So… it’s tiny house. It’s above door. (Different from all other walls?) Yes. (Do I see the ceiling?) Yes. (May be 8 feet ceilings?) Yes. (How high is this?) 7 1/2 fee maybe. (Anybody near this one?) No. (Does it indicate barrel of gun moved?) It does. (Also … a lot of blood at scene?) Yes. (Footmarks?) Yes. (Before officers walked through it?) I do not know.
(Did you find a knife at the scene?) yes. (Wehre?) Kitchen knives. A knife under the couch between the pillows on couch… like a steak knife. (Why?) Don’t know. (Have some conclusion about why knife under cushion?) Don’t know. (For self-defense of home owner?) I couldn’t make the conclusion. (Didn’t you tell the judge at the prelminary hearing?) I don’t remember. (Didn’t you say it was a bad neighborhood.) Yes. (Had anything to do with Travon Brown?) No.
(2 other photos … accurately depict the scene you saw?) Appears to be so. (Admit – State no objections).
(Questions about this fabric … floral print curtain?) Yes. (In the floor?) It is. (When officers arrived?) I don’t know, wasn’t there. Arrived about 12:20. (You made a log about where things were. Would I see curtain in floor?) Yes. When I arrived. (See door has several window panes. Did curtain cover panes?) It was to. Don’t know how it got to the floor. Blood was on it. (You submitted it for DNA testing?) Yes. (You know that Travon Brown’s blood on that curtain?) Yes. (You know that none of Harris’ blood is on that curtain?) Yes. (Evidence – State no objection)
(First page of report… where blood is?) If human, says yes. Doesn’t say who it is. (Next page … what matches what?) I don’t know what. WEDDLE – OBJECTION… WE DON’T THINK HE HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH LAB RESULTS. EXPERTS DID IT. THIS WITNESS HAS NOT TESTIFIED YET. GARRETT DID NOT CONDUCT THEM.
MCLAUGHLIN – I AM NOT GOING TO ASK ANY SCIENTIFIC QUESTIONS. JUDGE – HE CAN SAY HE DOESN’T KNOW.
(McLaughlin – nine samples?) May have been more. (True that blood clot in kitchen was Brown?) Yes. (Blood on wall, it was Brown?) Yes. (Which wall?) Must look at initials. Don’t know if it’s on document. In kitchen connected to the cabinet. (Brown’s blood all over the scene?) Yes. (He had a gunshot wound on his left hand?) Yes. (Left blood after he was shot?) Yes. (Saw his hand?) Saw pictures of it. (Severe, profuse bleeding?) Looks like it. (DNA on curtain …. matches Brown. Does it mean blood on curtain was his?) Yes. (Didn’t say anybody else’s?) Correct. (Just Brown’s?) Yes.
(These photos … wait … know why curtain fell?) Don’t know. (Show you photo… front?) Yes. (Blood on it?) Yes. (Was it tested for DNA?) No. (Don’t know whose blood this is?) No. (You went through house taking pictures?) Yes. (See drugs, paraphernalia?) Yes. (Know about tox on dead people?) Yes. (Know Harris was positive for cocaine?) Have to look at documents. (Ruffin positive for cocaine?) Uh… .OBJECT TO RELEVANCE – SUSTAIN
(Such thing… what does it mean about “trajectory analysis?”) Study of way bullets travel through items. (Use science to determine position of firearm when bullet hits it?) Yes. (Did you do one?) No. (Do we have analysis to know where firearms when these bullet strikes were made?) No. (Injection pattern analysis?) When bullet is ejected, to tell which bullet came out of gun when. (Guns have certain patterns to eject in certain way?) I guess. (Did you do this analysis?) No. (Gunshot residue test? Do that?) I did not. (Do you know anything about that?) Yes. Harris’ … right palm had gunshot residue.
11:33 – Defense done. Weddle to Re-direct.
(Weddle – Review some testimony. Steak knife, where?) Between the couch cushions. (Know if anybody was wielding knife when shootings occurred?) Don’t have evidence. (Knife close to Ruffin?) Yes. (Again … photo of Ruffin dead on couch. Surrounding area. Also saw rest of couch in defense photo. Any knives visible?) No. (Did you lift cushions to find knife?) When we moved bodies, someone found knife under cushion. (Any indication that Ruffin was wielding knife?) No. (Questions about struggle. Photo shows Ruffin as you found her. Looked at other photos … are they identical?) They are. (Items on couch by her?) No. (On arm of couch… what is that?) Cell phone, credit Card, pack of cigarettes. As I found them. Same as in other photos. (Any struggle involving Ruffin?) None whatsoever. She was holding the book. (No struggle with her… OBJECT – LEADING / JUDGE -OVERRULED)
Doesn’t appear she was involved with any type of struggle.
(Have you reviewed other photos?) Yes. (Other photos show same location of blood on the door?) Yes. (Discrepancies?) First photo, no blood on door but near handle. (Did you test blood?)( No. (I found out that when brought Travon out of house … OBJECTION – HEARSAY / JUDGE – SUSTAINED.
(Weddle – asked about GSR evidence… gunshot residue?) I am. (Know something about it?) I do. (What do you understand about it as far as likelihood of finding it … DEFENSE OBJECTION – KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT … JUDGE / SUSTAINED
MCLAUGHLIN – I’VE GOT ONE MORE QUESTION. (They approach bench to confer with judge.) JUDGE TELLS WITNESS TO STEP DOWN. 11:41.
JUDGE – Break for lunch. Return by 1:15 p.m. Jury out.
One matter – about …. MCLAUGHLIN about drug use by the deceased.
Judge – relevance?
McLaughlin – Tox studies show Harris was under use of cocaine. Aggressiveness and unpredictability could be affected by his use of cocaine. Ruffin’s remark about repose… tox studies will show she was under influence of cocaine and alcohol, presence of marijuana … all which would slow her reaction time. We think this is relevant.
JUDGE – Photo showed marijuana in bedroom, I recall.
WEDDLE – This is interesting but that drugs played apart in defendant’s case. We should be able to put in evidence of defendant, but we were denied. This isn’t relevant. This is self-defnese argument. Don’t see how drugs enter into it. If so, we should be able to show defendant had same drugs and he was aggressive as well. We renew out request to use earlier. One for the other.
JUDGE – McLaughlin, if as you suggest that proof is they used drugs before this occurred, then that may well be. But … no facts or circumstances that I am aware of that it had anything to do with what happened there. Rank speculation on my part to say these had some relevance to what went on. Therefore, I consider prior ruling to be correct. You may make record of whatever you wish
MCLAUGHLIN – We ask tox reports for identifiction only. Only other issues – to stipulate to thie exhibit (Shows document to state). (They don’t have problem.) No objection. It’s exhibit. JUDGE – TO BE RECEIVED IN EVIDENCE. MARK IT.
NEELY – Prior motion … that drug use discussion be prohibited.
MCLAUGHLIN – Motion was before I wa sin case. One, this last witness, I asked him about drugs in their system, no objection, he said yes. I know I can’t go any further. But ought to be able to argue in closing that evidence was received without objection.
JUDGE – Some evidence was never before me. If you will find the motion. I agree with mcLaughlin, tht evidence came in without objection. Don’t know I should prohibit the defense from arguing evidence that has been introduced.
WEDDLE – Garrett also testified about finding crack pip was not objected to. Clarify, would like to argue on closing.
JUDGE – Well, for different reasons, I think. In that, … let me think about that. RECESS UNTIL 1:15
• • •
9:00 A.M. – Judge takes his seat, asks each side of they have any issues to address before he calls the jury to its seats. They say no.
9:05 – Jury ready.
STATE CALLS BRANDON GARRETT (Weddle to question) [I will comment in brackets]
Brandon Garrett – Tupelo PD detective. Part of investigation at Chapman Drive shooting scene. Arrives just after midnight, after Sept. 28, 2011. Others already on scene. Entered the home at 1108 Chapman Drive. Called by 911 – said gunshots fired, two people in the residence appeared to have gunshot wounds, third person had gunshot wound to the hand at the scene. When arrived, told me subject was in the house.
(Subject gone?) Yes, not there. Assisted by other detectives. (What did you do there?) First, talked to Capt. Haynes to secure scene, brief me on what they had done. I met with other detectives to decide how we were going to proceed. I went into the house to see what had to be done. Started photographing the scene. Like to do that before other detectives come in. Then follow up with video. (Recorded the scene?) Yes. (Had some other photos been taken?) Yes. (Your photos. Do you identify anything in scene?) Yes, I take a log and document each photograph. Want to document evidence that might be moved. Collected DNA evidence before anybody else came in.
(To show him 9 photos marked for identification. Take a look, will ask you questions about them.) Took them at scene. (For evidence – Def no objections.)
(Weddle puts photos on projector for large scene. Asks him to describe it.) Area behind front door. [It’s a very blood scene, pools of blood on floor, splashes on the wall]
(What else?) Sees shell casings, 40 caliber. Same as in photo. Explains that casing is the part of the bullet that remains after it is fired. (What happens to shell after fired?) It’s ejected out of the gun automatically. (Hands him some evidence bags. Garrett puts on gloves.) Identifies bags as ones he filled, sealed. Others are from Miss. Crime Lab. (Asks him to break the seal and remove the item he placed in there. Garrett does so.) (What you expected?) Yes. One 40 caliber round. All casings found at scene are 40 caliber. (Mark for identification – Def no objection) (More bags to Garrett.) Shell casing behind TV. Shell found by federal agent. Found in that general area of photograph. (Asks him to open bags. Identify contents.) OK. (Shows him other photos.) Cornelius Harris on the floor. Photo near Harris’ feet, one white athletic shoe off his foot near evidence marker. (Hands him another evidence bag.) Another shell casing.
(Another photo?) Looks like shot from kitchen area… photo taken from the kitchen into the living room area. Harris lying down. Ruffin on couch. (Another bag. Identify.) Another shell casing. From the scene. (Open it, identify it.) Yes, 40 caliber shell casing. (Another photo.) These are flags to mark shell casings. (Photo.) Close up of shell casing on the floor, flagged. (Bag?) 40 cal shell casing, same as in photo. Identifies it. (For evidence – Def no objection)
(Photo?) Felicia Ruffin when I found her. [She is sitting on the corner of the couch with her head straight back onto the back of the couch. She looks like she’s reading a book, although of course, she is dead now.] Garrett identifies book, open to page 208. [He opens a large evidence bag and brings out a book, shows it to the jury.] It’s a book by Thomas Harris … [Says title but I can’t hear clearly.] (For evidence – Def no objection.) [Removes photo of Ruffin from the projector.]
(Back to photo at front door area. Marker No. 2. Hands him bag.) From front door area. [Opens bag with scissors.] This is the curtain … flower pattern … seen in photo by front door. (What is that to the left of the curtain?) By door? That’s the door. Front door to the house. [Very bloody scene, lots of pools of blood on tile floor, smears on the wall and front door.] Found shoe by the door. (Whose is it?) Travon Brown, the defendant. (Marked for evidence – Def no objection).
(Photo?) This is area in bathtub. (Items?) Pistol, 40 caliber. Center, beer, also gray quilt. Casings all 40 caliber. Glock 40 caliber pistol, same kind as I carry. (Hands him sealed box.) Sealed by MS Crime Lab, last seal on box. Others cut. Sent to lab for analysis. (Asks him to open the box and describe contents.) Glock Model No. 22, 40 caliber pistol. [Reads serial number.] (Same as crime scene?) It is. Same weapon as found at crime scene. (Asks him to take out other items in box.) Test-fire cartridges put in box by MS Crime Lab. Glock magazine, inside the gun in the bathtub. (What is that bag?) It’s the original bag I put gun in before we boxed it.
[About 30 people in courtroom audience by 9:47 a.m.]
(Is firearm marked?) No. (Another … magazine. Same one identified in photos?) Yes. (Other stuff?) One Glock 40 caliber magazine and 5 live 40 caliber rounds. (Did you remove them from the clip?) No. (Where were live rounds at scene?) Inside magazine. (Since then, went to lab for test firing?) Yes. (Ask exhibit, box with firearm to be entered into evidence – Def no objection)
(Also, 15-round magazine… to be marked and received. Def- no objection.) (Type like you were issued?) Yes (Familiar with it?) Yes. (Perhaps some jurors familiar with semi-automatic weapons. How are they loaded?) Put rounds in magazine, pull back slide and let it go. (If you fire first round, must you put another to fire?) No, it’s automatic. (What kind of sounds does it make when you fire it?) It’s pretty loud. (Hands him bag.) 40 caliber bullet fired from the chamber. (From the chamber, you unloaded it?) Yes. (Asks him to open the bag and ID it.) 40 caliber… hasn’t been fired. (Mark and receive – Def no objections.)
[Judge - I don’t want any live rounds near the pistol. Let’s be certain there is no chance they will be put in there. Weddle - agrees.] (To Garrett – pistol is in safe position in the box?) Yes, it is.
(Can be determined if bullet fired from a gun?) Yes, we don’t do it. Not sure how they do, but we don’t do it. I sent it off for that test. (Why there are test-fired cartridges?) Yes, we sent it off to be tested. (Other items… curtain, had blood on it?) Yes. (Did what?) Sent it to MS Crime Lab. WE don’t do that in-house. (Firearm – has multiple stickers? Has it been tested?) Yes, DNA. (Did you direct trace on serial numbers?) Yes, standard. (Results?) DOJ ATF report, says gun purchased by Travon Brown. Form number matches number on gun. (Receive – Def no objection)
(Did you go to the hospital?) No. (Understand Brown went to hospital?) Yes. (Did you get evidence from Brown not taken at scene?) Yes. He was treated at hospital, items bagged by other TPD detectives at my instructions. Did not see him at hospital. (Ask if you can ID items taken at hospital?) (Shows him photo. You did not take photo and did not see him in that photo?) Correct. (What about clothing?) Blue jeans, distinctive monogram. Jeans received from him … looked like this. (Photo marked and received – Def no objections)
(Photo, design on back of jeans?) It does. (ID this bag?) Label says a pair of jeans with design on back, taken from Travon at the E.R. Not my writing on the back. Done at my directions. Bag sealed. [Opens bag] (Remove those from bag.) [Shows jeans and puts them back into the bag.] (ARe these same jeans found on defendant?) They are. (Receive – Def no objection)
(Look at this bag.) This is a black and brown loafer shoe. (Mate to one at scene?) Yes. Belongs to Travon Brown. Taken from him at E.R., provided to me. Sealed it. [Looks in bag] It’s the left shoe. (Received – Def no objection) (Items taken from him at scene?) Yes, driver’s license, 3 40-caliber shell casings, 1 crack pipe, 2 keys, metal nail clippers, pack of Seneca cigarettes. (Ask about shell casings. Caliber?) 40. (Live rounds?) [can’t hear his response] DEFENSE OBJECTS – CAN’T SEE PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE.
(Did you personally remove these?) I did. (Identify?) 3 40-caliber shell casings. [He looks into the bag.] 3 40-caliber shell casings. (Receive – Def no objection) 10:10 a.m.
(You mentioned … video evidence at scene? Same time?) Yes. (To play video) [It’s eery, silent video, shows Ruffin on couch, Harris on floor, large pool of blood by Harris. Blood smeared by the door. On wall, on door. Closeup of dark show. Back to couch andshoes in the couch. Blood trail from living room into kitchen. Cabinets open, sSnear on back door, door facing. Into hallway, large smears on hall carpet into bathroom. Shot of tub with pistol, beer and guilt. Blood oil toilet seat. Into bedroom, back to living room. Bullet hole high on wall. Brown is writing a note after he saw hole on wall.]
(Asks him what he did with video?) Made a DVD and copied it from original took that night. (Into evidence ..) (Did you notice if X-Box or game console in living room?) Not console. There were games in there. (Was there a gaming console… need it to play games. Was there one anywhere else?) Back bedroom. See it on video, on the floor. (When arrived, victims in living room … were they alive?) I was told by Haynes tht ER had come and said they were not alive. Didn’t independently check. Inspected the bodies. (Wounds?) Harris – three locations of gunshots, hand area, back of head, in shoulder area. [See photos on screen] Ruffin – one gunshot wound to the face.
(After you left scene, did you talk to Brown about events of that evening?) I did. Gave me signed statement. (On overhead… document.) TPD waiver of rights form. Protocol before written statement. (Date is Sept. 30, 2011. Two days after event.) Correct. (Did he give it voluntarily?) He did. (Did he sign waiver?) Yes. Indicated rights read to him. (Statement.. who typed?) Someone else. He gave information. Represents his signature. Mine and his. Initials – Travon Brown’s. (Received – Def no objections) [Typed statement on screen - Garrett looks at it with everybody else.] 10:23
(Recorded in the statement, what Brown told you happened?) Correct. (Recall mention of playing X0Box game in living room?) Yes. (Did you see it there?) No. Saw controller… was a wireless game. No console with the game. (Was X-Box in the house. Bedroom?) Yes. (Did Brown tell you that someone else shot the weapon?) No. (Did he say brought weapon to house?) He did. (Shows him weapon box. Want to show it to the jury.) [Puts it on overhead projector.] (Some photos in evidence … recognize home?) Yes, it’s Chapman Drive home, 1108. (Accurately depicts living room and bedroom?) It is. Living room, TV. Other, back bedroom, dresser, bed.
(Photo ,.. Items on top of the TV?) Yes. Cable box and wire from wall. Black X-Box … (What room is this? Second photo) BR, X-Box on the floor. (Only one in house?) It is. (One more photo … is X-Box was wired to anything?) No, other than power cord. Not plugged in. No video cables to it. (Items from Brown, do we have them?) Yes. In evidence box. MCLAUGHLIN ASKS TO SEE IT … ASKS TO APPROACH BENCH FOR CONFERENCE. [After brief remarks, Weddle puts bag back on evidence table. Weddle looks through other evidence away from table. Kelly helps him look. Weddle says something to McLaughlin, who responds and shakes his head, agrees to something.] McLaughlin says no objection to what they are trying to show.
10:34 RECESS before cross-examination.
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