ELYRIA — Bohannon Miller’s defense attorney called a single witness Monday before resting her case in the aggravated murder trial of her client.
The sole witness, Tyrone White, testified about an encounter Miller allegedly had in the hours before the fatal drive-by shooting of Marquis McCall on June 22, 2009.
White’s sister, Tierra White, had testified earlier in the trial that she had seen Miller, armed with a handgun, drive up on a group of people on Long Avenue and begin yelling about the earlier shooting of Christopher Hill.
Police believe McCall’s shooting was retaliation for the shooting of Hill, who died from his injuries. Craig Roberson, who was shot at the same time as McCall, has testified that Miller was demanding to know who had shot his cousin in the hours before McCall was killed.
But Tyrone White said although he recalled the incident, he couldn’t say who was driving the car.
He denied a suggestion from Assistant Lorain County Prosecutor Sherry Glass that he was testifying for Miller because he was concerned that his sister had testified for the prosecution.
“I’m not afraid anything at all’s going to happen,” said Tyrone White, who is serving time on unrelated charges.
The trial, which began Jan. 29, has been marred by accusations from Lorain police and prosecutors that Miller has waged a campaign of intimidation against witnesses, including Raymond Fowler, who has told police he was in the back seat of the car when Miller allegedly killed McCall.
County Common Pleas Judge James Miraldi granted a request from prosecutors to allow Lorain police Detective Buddy Sivert to testify about what Fowler told him after Fowler refused to take the stand because of threats he said had been leveled against him by Miller and his associates. Fowler also testified that he had been threatened by members of McCall’s family.
Defense attorney Denise Wilms had argued against allowing Sivert to testify on Fowler’s behalf because doing so denied Miller a chance to confront his accuser. Glass countered that Miller had given up the right to face Fowler since he was responsible for the threats.
Miraldi denied a similar request from Glass to allow Sivert to testify about what Larry Blake, the alleged driver in the drive-by shooting, told him.
Also Monday, Wilms questioned Sivert about whether Fowler had violated his deal with prosecutors by refusing to testify. Under the terms of that agreement, Fowler was supposed to take the stand and testify truthfully against Miller and in exchange he wouldn’t be charged in connection with the McCall slaying.
“In my opinion he did, but that’s something for the prosecutor’s office to decide,” Sivert said.
The trial has lasted far longer than expected, pushing back the start of the capital murder trial of Vincent Jackson, who is accused of gunning down Qiana Walton during a June 2008 robbery of Gas USA in Elyria. The Jackson trial had been scheduled to begin Monday.
Miraldi is the judge on both cases and delayed the Jackson trial until after closing arguments are completed in the Miller case. Those closing arguments are slated to take place this morning.