ELYRIA — Craig Roberson took deep breaths and fidgeted as attorneys, jurors and a crowded courtroom waited Thursday for him to identify Bohannon Miller during the second day of Miller’s aggravated murder trial.
Roberson, who survived the June 22, 2009, drive-by shooting that claimed the life of Marquis McCall, already had said Miller was in the courtroom but was reluctant to point out exactly where the accused killer was sitting.
Assistant County Prosecutor Sherry Glass pointed to the trial table where Lorain police Detective Buddy Sivert sat and asked if Miller was sitting there. Roberson finally said Miller wasn’t there.
But when she asked him if Miller was at the only other trial table in the room, Roberson took long moments to answer.
“The question’s not going to go away,” Glass said at one point.
Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Miraldi ultimately asked Roberson if he was afraid to answer the question.
“No,” Roberson replied.
After Roberson finally conceded that Miller was sitting at the defense table, defense attorney Denise Wilms questioned him about whether he had been reluctant to identify Miller because he didn’t actually know Miller. Roberson said that wasn’t the case.
“I’m sure,” he said.
Sivert said after the trial ended for the day that Lorain police have no information on any direct threats to anyone involved in the case.
“I’m confident our guys on the road can handle anything like that that comes up,” he said.
Roberson had earlier testified that he was shot in the leg and the side while he and McCall were walking along Long Avenue. He said he didn’t see where the gunshots came from or who fired them, but as soon as he heard the sound of gunfire he ran.
He testified that he went down after being hit.
“Next thing I know, my dude’s on the floor … basically dying,” Roberson said. “Then I blacked out.”
Although Roberson’s wounds from the shooting, which prosecutors have described as retaliation for the shooting death of 16-year-old Christopher Hill just hours before, weren’t fatal, McCall didn’t survive.
Roberson said that while he didn’t see the shooter, he had an encounter with an upset Miller earlier in the day while walking with some friends.
He said Miller had driven by in a gold Ford Taurus, which police believe was used in the drive-by later in the day, and had demanded to know who had killed Hill.
“’Which one of you (expletive) killed my (expletive) Chris,’” Roberson quoted Miller asking the group before he drove off.
Tierra White, who also witnessed that exchange, said she was surprised to see Miller, who was armed with a gun, on the city’s west side. She said Miller, who is serving an eight-year prison term for gang activity, is from the south side of Lorain and was involved in the “beefs” gangs from the two areas have.
“Always had strife between the west side and the south side,” she said.
Roger Rowser, who was on a Long Avenue porch with friends lifting weights when McCall was shot, testified he saw the shooting.
He said a light-skinned or Puerto Rican person was sitting on the window area of the passenger side door of a silver Taurus and fired multiple shots at McCall and Roberson. Miller is black.
No one has been charged in connection with Hill’s death, but Larry Blake and Dale Atkinson are awaiting trial on charges they were involved in the McCall shooting.