For a second day a codefendant testifying for the prosecution in the murder and racketeering trial of Daphene and Jamal Castille and Dantrell Marshall took the witness stand Sunday with a bandage on the left side of his face.
And defense attorneys were not pleased.
Suellen Fleming, who represents Jamal Castille, asked Judge William Rumer for a mistrial, recalling that Terrell Mars told the jury Saturday he had been attacked by two Muscogee jail inmates belonging to a gang called the Gangster Disciples.
Mars said the assault Wednesday was a warning that he’d best not testify against Daphene Castille.
Fleming described Mars as “shockingly bandaged” and said the testimony prosecutors elicited about the jail attack was “devastatingly prejudicial” to the jury. “We can’t go forward in this trial with this jury,” she said.
Daphene Castille’s attorney Cynthia Lain and Marshall’s counsel Timothy Flournoy joined in Fleming’s motion.But Rumer rejected it, saying Mars eventually would have been asked why he was wearing the bandage anyway, and his explanation was sufficiently “innocuous.”
Like the defendants on trial, Mars also is charged with racketeering involving the Sept. 10, 2008, armed robbery of a CB&T bank branch formerly located at 5445 Forrest Road and the Sept. 22, 2008, fatal shooting of David Coleman Jr. at 730 Lawyers Lane. Coleman, 20, was a police informant feeding investigators information on the robbery.
Having agreed to testify for prosecutors, Mars is not on trial this week. His case will be decided once the trial is over, authorities said.
Investigators have said Daphene Castille planned the bank robbery after she and two others were stopped for a traffic violation July 12, 2008, on Interstate 10 east of Houston, Texas state troopers found cocaine with a street value of $42,000 in the car, authorities said.
The three bonded out of jail and were never prosecuted, but having lost the cocaine, Daphene Castille needed cash to hire a lawyer and to get back into dealing crack, police said.
Mars said he and Jamal Castille robbed the bank while Marshall drove the car. Mars said he put cash from the bank vault in a green bag bought at Walmart, and the three drove immediately to Daphene Castille’s house at 853 Englewood Drive, where they dumped the loot on a bed and started counting it, he said.
They found a $20 bill with a bulge in the center, a bank tracking device, so Mars took that and threw it out in the woods, he said. When he returned to the house, the cash was divided into stacks, he said. He and Jamal Castille each got $60,000 and Marshall got $20,000.
A teller manager earlier testified $196,000 was taken from the bank vault. Mars said he did not know what happened to the rest of it.
He said Daphene Castille had told him the bank could have $300,000-$400,000 in it, information that likely came from a bank employee.
He and Jamal Castille put the clothes they wore in the robbery in a white trash bag, and Daphene Castille later burned them in a barbecue grill, he said.
They put the loot in a box that Daphene Castille first took to an aunt’s house on Sixth Street, where it sat atop a cabinet, he said. Then they moved it to another relative’s home in Cusseta, where they buried it in a cooler when Daphene Castille heard the FBI was onto her, he said.
When later he went back to dig up the loot, it was gone, he said.
He said Daphene Castille decided to have her son kill Coleman after police searched her home, and upon reading the search warrant, she determined Coleman was the police informant.
Jamal Castille had two guns, a .40 caliber and a .380 caliber, and after Coleman’s homicide, he and Jamal Castille took the guns across the 13th Street bridge to Phenix City, pulled off beside the Chattahoochee River and threw them in, Mars said.
Mars said Jamal Castille later told him of shooting Coleman while the two were jailed together in Sumter County, Ga. Jamal Castille told him he had to shoot Coleman six or seven times, and waited until just the right time to do it, Mars said.
Last week, a forensic pathologist testified Coleman had six bullet wounds, and a firearms expert said two bullets from Coleman’s body were both .380 caliber and came from the same gun.
Mars previously has been convicted of robbing a bank. Under Lain’s questioning Sunday, he admitted he also was convicted of robbing a pharmacy in 1994.
In one of the trial’s few lighter moments, Lain and Mars drew a laugh from the courtroom audience when Lain got the year of that conviction wrong:
“This is a 1977 conviction,” she told Mars.
“I was born in 1977,” he replied as others chuckled.