Three hours of testimony Friday in the murder trial of Dequandrea Truitt and Shaquille Porter produced little of the courtroom drama jurors saw earlier this week.
The court session was cut short because Judge William Rumer had plans to celebrate his anniversary.
Police Cpl. Katina Williams’ testimony occupied much of the morning. Williams was the lead investigator in the fatal shooting of Charles Foster Jr., 24, who was wounded in a barrage of gunfire around 2:15 a.m. Jan. 1, 2013, in the Majestic Sports Bar, 2102 Cusseta Road. Six others were wounded.
Williams testified she was at the crime scene hours later when Truitt came to the nightclub parking lot and asked police to help his girlfriend recover her car, in which she had locked the keys.
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Williams said she and Truitt had a “cordial” conversation, during which he told her how he was wounded months earlier in a Phenix City shooting. The detective did not yet know then that Truitt was a suspect in Foster’s slaying, so officers got the girlfriend’s car unlocked and let Truitt leave. He surrendered to police on Jan. 6.
Senior Assistant District Attorney LaRae Moore earlier this week told the court that Truitt was losing a fist fight at a Phenix City recreation center Nov. 19 or 20, 2012, when he pulled a pistol and fired at his opponent, missing. A friend of his combatant then got a shotgun and shot Truitt in the right arm, she said.
Truitt’s arm still was in a sling the night Foster was shot, and some witnesses said one of the people they saw shooting at the Cusseta Road bar had his arm either bandaged or in a sling.
Williams’ testimony sparked a swift reaction from Porter’s attorney Michael Eddings when she said Porter was featured on the local news as an “area’s most wanted” suspect. Eddings sought a mistrial, arguing jurors would take that to mean “America’s Most Wanted,” a nationally syndicated TV show. That would be prejudicial, he said.
Rumer denied Eddings’ motion and instructed the jury to disregard what Williams said, because it was not evidence in the case.
Rumer and Eddings had a tense courtroom exchange Thursday when Eddings tried to get a witness’ arrest record into evidence. The document he had was not a certified copy, so his exhibit was not admissible, but he kept mentioning it in front the jury until Rumer ordered, “Don’t do that again!”
Truitt’s attorney, Stacey Jackson, had Williams confirm Friday that Foster’s girlfriend, LaQuoia Arnold, did not in her initial police interviews tell investigators she saw Truitt with a gun at the nightclub. Arnold earlier testified she and Truitt walked out of the club’s east-side door at the same time, and that’s when she saw he had a pistol in his pocket.
Williams acknowledged Arnold had not mentioned that, and had told police she didn’t see who was shooting or see anyone with a gun.
The trial resumes at 9 a.m. Monday. The defendants each face two counts of murder, six of aggravated assault and two of using a firearm to commit a crime.