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Prosecutor: ‘I told you I was going to kill you,’ suspect told girlfriend before bystander’s shooting

rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.com

The prosecution Wednesday rested its case in the murder retrial of Ulysses Wiggins, who’s accused of fatally shooting bystander Catherine Walker during a 2008 domestic dispute with his girlfriend.

Prosecutors this week had two witnesses testify they saw Wiggins shoot Walker the night of Dec. 16, 2008, outside a Talbotton Road apartment complex he and girlfriend Valorice Caples were visiting.

Wiggins was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 2010, but the Georgia Supreme Court overturned his conviction, ruling Wiggins had asked to represent himself and the 2010 trial court neglected to hold a hearing on his request.

Prosecutor Katie Hartford told jurors Caples and Wiggins lived together at 2316 16th Ave., but were attending a wake at the 1410 Talbotton Road apartments, just a few blocks away.

Wiggins became enraged when Caples tried to get into another man’s car, and he rushed over and yanked her away. This prompted Caples’ friend Carolyn Senior to get between Wiggins and Caples to break up the fight, Hartford said.

Caples’ teenaged nephew saw this, and spurred a group of teens to go after Wiggins, chasing him four or five blocks to his home. There Wiggins got a gun and abruptly became the pursuer instead of the prey, chasing the teens back toward the apartments and firing four or five shots, the prosecutor said.

When he got to the apartments, he pointed the pistol at Caples and told her, “I told you I was going to kill you,” Hartford said. When Senior again intervened, he pointed the gun at her, too, the assistant district attorney said.

The two women got away, and Wiggins started prowling around the apartments until he saw Walker standing outside and shot her, though she had not been involved in the earlier confrontations, Hartford said.

Retired medical examiner Douglas Posey testified Wednesday that the gun was fired from an “intermediate range” of more than two or three feet away, and the bullet entered Walker’s upper left chest, punctured her aorta and both lungs, perforated a rib and exited her right back.

Police arrested Wiggins that night. He initially claimed he never brandished a gun, and instead had chased the teenagers with a stick, Hartford said. Later he told a detective the gun he’d had was hidden behind his home.

Detective Wayne Fairbairn testified he found a gun there, but it was a rusty pellet pistol with leaves stuck to it, so it appeared to have been left there a long time ago. Police have not recovered another firearm.

Wiggins and his defense attorney, Nancy Miller, maintain someone else shot Walker and hid the gun that was used.

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