ELYRIA – Barry Williams said Wednesday that he was running down the street when the gunshot that killed Michael Smith was fired.
|Barry Williams answers questions from Assistant Lorain County Prosecutor Anthony Cillo in court Wednesday.|
He didn`t see who pulled the trigger, but when he last looked over his shoulder, Willie Evans IV was aiming a gun at the 64-year-old retired steelworker. A moment later, he heard a gunshot,
Williams testified on the third day of Evans` aggravated murder trial.
Williams, 20, said he agreed to testify against Evans, 18, in exchange for a reduced prison sentence of 13 years. He, along with Evans, and a third man, Tyrone Young, is charged in the crime and could get life in prison if convicted on all of the charges against him.
Williams said that on the night of April 12, 2006, he, Young, Evans, who was 16 at the time, and a fourth man, who has not been charged in the killing, had planned to rob a Lorain drug dealer of money and marijuana, but the drug dealer wasn`t home.
Instead, shortly after midnight on April 13, they found Smith, who was moving his wife`s car, which she had left on the street at her husband`s request while he was at the horse racing track for the evening. When the four men spotted Smith, Williams said, Evans handed the gun to Young and said, “Go get him.”
Williams said Young ran up to Smith and confronted him with the gun, ordering him to put his hands on the Ford Taurus. Williams said he took Smith`s keys and got in the driver`s seat, but when no one else got in the car to steal it, he dropped the keys on the floor and got out.
Smith was taken to the back of the car, where he was forced into the trunk, Williams said, something he said he wasn`t in favor of because if the trunk were closed, part of it would have hit Smith`s head. Smith also told his assailants that they didn`t need to put him in the trunk, according to Williams.
Williams said he even went so far as to raise the trunk, leaving behind his fingerprints, because he didn`t want the trunk closed on Smith`s head. After that, Williams said, he took off running down the street while Evans had the gun.
“All I seen was him pointing the gun into the trunk,” he said.
James Huff, who was walking by as the robbery took place and knew the men allegedly involved, testified earlier in the trial that Evans pistol whipped Smith and then shot him in the stomach.
When the alleged robbers met up again later that night, Williams said he told Evans “I hope you didn`t do anything stupid, because my prints are on the car.”
Evans` response to Young, Williams said, was suggesting that they kill him because he would be the one “who`s gonna snitch.”
Lorain police Sgt. Mark McCoy testified Wednesday that prints found on the car were ultimately traced back to Williams and Young after Williams was arrested on an unrelated underage drinking charge and his prints were put into a county database. Williams in turn identified the others involved in the shooting, wore a wire while sharing a jail cell with Young and led police to Huff.
Evans` attorney, Paul Griffin, suggested that Williams was lying to save himself.
“What sounds better – â€˜I shot the guy?` or, â€˜Somebody else shot the guy?` ” he asked.
Williams insisted that he was telling the truth, despite initially lying to police about his level of involvement.
Evans doesn`t deny that he was there when the shooting took place but insists that he didn`t pull the trigger.
The trial resumes today.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.