COLUMBIA — When Joshua Murray and Nicholas Thomas went to McKee Street Park the night of July 14, they were just looking for a fight, Murray said Thursday.
The testimony came during the second day of Thomas’ trial for first-degree murder and armed criminal action in connection to the shooting death of Tre'Veon Marshall. Murray faces the same charges.
On the night of his death, Marshall and a woman were walking through the park when Thomas and Murray, who had their faces covered, walked past them in the opposite direction, Murray said.
Murray then thought of turning around to punch Marshall, he said.
“Before I could turn around, I heard a gunshot,” Murray said.
Murray had previously told detectives he had seen Thomas shoot Marshall five times, and the first shot hit Marshall in the back, according to the probable cause statement. But during the trial, Murray said though he heard the first shot, he only actually saw Thomas shoot a handgun four times: once into the left side of Marshall’s chest, another into his arm and a third into his left leg. He did not know where the other bullet went.
But some of the other testimonies conflicted with Murray's account. Medical examiner Carl Stacy said he found three gunshot wounds on Marshall’s body when he conducted the autopsy July 15. One of those, the fatal shot, was to Marshall's back, a location Murray did not name.
Columbia Police Officer Porter Wilson, one of the first responders to the scene, said there was no wound to the 17-year-old’s left chest as Murray had indicated.
Kimberly Huett-Linzie also provided details Wednesday that conflicted with Murray's testimony.
She said she picked up Thomas and Murray around 11 p.m. when she got off work, and she drove them to the park.
Murray, however, said she picked up him and Thomas around 7 p.m. the night of the shooting. Murray said that he and Thomas had wanted to rob a house on the south side of town, but they got “cold feet” so Huett-Linzie drove them to Wendy’s before the group headed toward the park.
Some jailhouse letters Thomas allegedly wrote to Murray also played a part in the trial.
Judy Hussey, Thomas’ girlfriend of three years, identified his handwriting in letters that Murray said Thomas wrote to him while both men were in the Boone County Jail. One of the notes said “write a false statement.”
Assistant prosecutor Tracy Gonzalez said the state is not seeking the death penalty for Thomas.
Murray has a hearing scheduled for Aug. 18, and his trial is set for Aug. 27. A preliminary hearing for Huett-Linzie, who is charged with hindering prosecution, is set for June 25.
Supervising editor is Landon Woodroof