The most dramatic evidence Thursday in the murder trial of four men charged in the 2013 death of David Scott came from a Columbus police officer involved in the car chase leading to the capture of suspect Tyrecquiss Shaewaun "Shae-Shae" Wells.
Wells was the last to be arrested in the Sept. 19 fatal shooting of David Scott, who was fatally wounded as a hail of bullets hit the car he was driving at Seventh Street and Coolidge Avenue.
Scott had borrowed the car from his cousin, a gambler who typically carried a lot of cash, and prosecutors allege Wells and four others thought the cousin was driving and intended to rob him.
When they blocked the car with a stolen pickup and charged toward Scott with guns, he put the car in reverse and backed into a tree as he tried to flee. Nearly 30 shots were fired at the vehicle, one hitting Scott in forehead. A passenger in the car was uninjured.
The first suspects arrested were Jayln Trevonta Dixon, Donald Rydell Fair, Christopher Deshawn Pender and Christopher Don Whitaker. Dixon is not on trial this week because he pleaded guilty to reduced charges in exchange for his testimony.
Among those testifying Thursday was police Cpl. Raymond Harralson, who was serving in a special detail on Sept. 24, 2013, when detectives on the hunt for Wells asked for help.
Officers in unmarked cars had seen Wells driving a silver Chevrolet Impala near Warm Springs Road and Miller Road. Harralson’s unit left Beaver Run Road to assist.
The instant Wells saw police were onto him, he raced from Warm Springs Road to the Manchester Expressway and headed toward Interstate 185, said Harralson, who added his vehicle was going 125 mph on the expressway, so Wells’ speed must have neared 130.
Police trailing in the distance chased Wells south on the interstate to Buena Vista Road, where the suspect ignored traffic signals as he exited and turned west.
Prosecutors played Harralson’s dash-cam video for the jury, and spectators in the courtroom could be heard gasping at the near-misses they saw as police chased Wells from Buena Vista Road to Steam Mill Road, a two-lane with school zones.
It was about 3:30 in the afternoon, right after classes ended for the day. Despite the traffic conditions, Wells kept his speed at 60 to 70 mph as he sped through school zones, Harralson said.
Those in court also heard police cursing on the recording as the chase continued, particularly when Wells nearly hit a school bus head-on: "Oh s—t! Oh s—t!" an officer exclaimed.
The Impala passed other school buses as the chase continued. At one point it went all the way off the road into a ditch and then swerved back, Harralson said.
And then … police lost Wells.
"Where the f—k did he go?" an officer could be heard asking. "G-----n it!"
Eventually came reports the Impala had been found parked behind a church on Floyd Road, where Wells had dashed into the adjacent neighborhood. Officers soon found and arrested him.
Tracking the truck
Other witnesses testifying Thursday included a man whose tan Ford F-150 pickup was stolen about 3 a.m. Sept. 16, 2013, from where he worked at Kodak Polychrome in east Columbus, off Corporate Ridge Parkway between Woodruff Farm Road and Schatulga Road. That truck later was used in an attempted burglary on Cheyenne Drive, off Biggers Road in north Columbus, where an audible alarm scared the burglars away.
Next the stolen truck was used in the robbery and shooting of Sergio Mayfield on Baltic Court. Prosecutors said Whitaker set up the robbery, and Wells drove the pickup there with Pender and Dixon.
Mayfield testified Wednesday morning, acknowledging he was robbed of cash and shot in the stomach as he tried to drive away. He identified Pender and Wells as having been among his assailants.
But he was not an eager witness. He admitted he was on probation for selling marijuana; otherwise he would not discuss dealing in the drug.
"That ain’t what we’re here for," he growled at one attorney. "Talk about what we’re here for."
The stolen pickup next showed up at the intersection where Scott was shot. A Georgia Bureau of Investigation firearms expert testified her analysis showed .45-caliber and .223-caliber casings from the Baltic Court shooting matched those found at Seventh Street and Coolidge Avenue. A fragment from a .223-caliber bullet hit Scott in the forehead, she said.
The .233-caliber weapon was a rifle, investigators said. Mayfield referred to it as a "chopper," slang for an AR-15.
Police evidence at the intersection showed bullets also came from two different 9mm handguns.
Witnesses also testified in regard to the last place the stolen truck turned up — aflame in a vacant lot at Bayberry Drive and Buena Vista Road, a can of gas on the ground nearby. That was around 12:30 a.m., two hours after Scott’s shooting and 4½ hours after Mayfield was robbed and shot.
The owner testified his car insurance paid him $11,000 for the vehicle he’d bought brand-new 10 years earlier, and for which he recently had bought new tires.
He recalled a police officer’s coming to Kodak Polychrome about 2:30 a.m. Sept. 20, 2013, to give him the news his stolen truck had been recovered.
"Unfortunately, it was burned to a crisp," he added dryly.
The trial continues today in Judge William Rumer’s Government Center courtroom.
Here are the allegations against each defendant, according to the indictment:
In Scott’s death, each faces charges of malice or intentional murder, felony murder for killing Scott while committing the felony of aggravated assault, aggravated assault, criminal attempt to commit a felony for trying to rob Scott, aggravated assault on Scott’s passenger, using a firearm to commit a crime, and theft by receiving stolen property for the Ford truck.
In Mayfield’s shooting, Pender, Wells and Whitaker are charged with aggravated assault and armed robbery. Pender and Wells also are charged with using a firearm to commit a felony.
Pender faces charges of falsely reporting a crime and making false statements to police for lying to detectives who questioned him Sept. 19 and 23.
For burning the stolen truck, Fair is accused of tampering with evidence and third-degree arson.
For the high-speed chase, Wells is charged with trying to elude police. Because of previous burglary convictions, he also is charged with two counts of being a felon with a firearm.