Evan Donard Winston, 21, is accused of killing 21-year-old Kevin Woods in September 2011. The defendant, dressed in khaki pants, buttondown shirt and sweater vest, appeared before Judge Dennis Blackmon in Carroll County Superior Court.
The first witness called by the state was Dr. Keith Lehman, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation forensic pathologist who performed Woods’ autopsy.
Lehman testified that the Marietta man died because of three gunshot wounds that were fired at “medium or intermediate range.”
The doctor told jurors that the barrel of the gun was close enough to the victim to cause abrasions on the skin from gun powder peppering. The barrel could have been between several inches and about a yard from the victim.
Senior Assistant District Attorney Jeff Hunt, prosecuting for the state, provided Lehman a torso mannequin and five orange stickers to note where the three bullets entered the body and where two of the bullets exited.
The bullet recovered from the victim’s body, Lehman said, was jacketed and could be consistent with what is fired from a revolver or semi-automatic.
The state also called the first person who was on the scene after the shooting, a man who was visiting his girlfriend at her home in Chateau Apartments.
Herman Ackey, who is now married to former Chateau resident Cassandra Ackey, said he saw two men (one of whom was identified as Branden Woods, the victim’s brother, Wednesday) standing near the car shortly after he heard “three or four gunshots.”
Cassandra Ackey also testified, saying she saw two or three black males running from the Dodge Charger in which Woods’ body was found. Two of the men had guns, Cassandra said.
When the Ackeys were outside, they were joined by the first officer on the scene, Sgt. Brandon Wilson, who also testified Thursday.
Wilson was in the Chateau Apartments management office responding to a criminal trespass call when dispatchers said there had been shots fired in the apartment complex’s parking lot.
Wilson testified that the car was still running when he got to it, and that Woods had no detectable pulse when he checked.
Sherry Hosey, an officer with Carrollton Police Department who handled the evidence documentation and storage for the case, testified that there were shell casings found both outside the car and in the floorboard.
During cross-examination by one of Winston’s attorneys, Suellen Fleming, Hosey said she did not know if the shell casings had come from the same gun.
In his opening statement to the jury, Atlanta attorney Mawuli Davis, also representing Winston, said the fatal gunshot that killed Woods was not fired by his client, but by a man who pleaded guilty in December.
Roudolphe Germain Jr. pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter late last year, receiving a sentence of 15 years in prison, followed by five years of probation.
Winston was indicted in October 2011. He has been charged with five offenses, including murder and aggravated assault.
In the original incident report filed, Wilson reported finding the victim dead in a Dodge Charger in the parking lot of Chateau Apartments on Hay’s Mill Road at approximately 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 2, 2011, shortly after the shooting occurred.
According to Inv. Chad Taylor, it is currently the belief of police that Egim Chris Etta-Tawo had set up a marijuana deal between the victim and Winston and Germain, which ended with Woods’ death. Winston and Germain reportedly drove off in a 1999 Toyota Camry.
Etta-Tawo was originally indicted, along with Winston and Germain, for the murder, but is expected to have that murder charge dismissed in consideration of his testimony in the trial, which was heard Wednesday.
In his opening statement, Davis said that Germain had been in possession of a 9mm pistol and that Woods was killed from a 9mm gunshot wound.
The case was adjourned for the evening, with more witnesses to be called by the state beginning at 10 a.m. today.
Hunt said the state has “two, maybe three” remaining witnesses. All remaining witnesses are expected to be law enforcement officers.