On Thursday, talks of forensics chewed up much of the day as jurors heard testimony from several agents with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation in the trial against John Beck and Curtis Bela Alford.
The defense continued to hammer away at LeCarus Oliver, an agent with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations, whose testimony carried over from the day before. Defense attorney James Powell asked about the scene where the shots were allegedly fired into the vehicle of Odessa Williams.
Powell questioned Oliver about processing the scene and how he would have handled the scene if he were first to respond.
“I would have made sure the area was secure,” Oliver said. “It hurts a crime scene if it has been tampered with.”
The state called four additional agents with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation. Mark Sted, a seven-year veteran with the agency, was questioned about his role in the investigation. He said he witnessed Oliver’s interview of Beck and Alford following the incident.
In regards to the obstruction charges, Sted said the way the car was processed and how the shell casings were picked up were not done appropriately.
When approaching Odessa Williams and Albert Coffee at the Delta Electric sub-station on the night of March 9, 2011, Sted said Beck approached the vehicle and said, “whoa, whoa, whoa, I want to talk to you.”
“Williams did not stop,” Sted said. “He [Beck] then fired shots at vehicle’s rear taillight. He then contacted the Holmes County Sheriff’s Department to let them know they were in pursuit.”
Sted said during the interview, Alford said he then patted Coffee down and took him to the area where Williams had wrecked his vehicle.
Defense attorney Kevin Horan asked Sted if he thought Alford conducted himself in the way he should have in handling Coffee.
“Yes,” Sted said.
Alford is charged with aggravated assault, shooting a weapon into an occupied vehicle, obstruction of justice, conspiracy to obstruct and kidnapping. Deputy John Beck faces the same charges except for kidnapping.
Horan said there was nothing to support the kidnapping charge.
Chris Wingert, MBI analyst, testified he discovered a total of six shots into Williams’ vehicle when it was processed at the Carroll County Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The car was towed to the EOC following the incident.
“I found three shots in the back windshield, two in the trunk and one shot into the taillight,” Wingert told assistant district attorney Scott Rogillio.
In the cross examination, Powell said Wingert’s studies were inaccurate and that there were holes also in the tires of the vehicle, but Wingert did not examine those wholes due to a flat tire, mud and debris.
“There were three bullets in the tire, your analysis was wrong,” Powell said. “How common is it that you miss ballistic evidence? You missed three bullet holes.”
Following an objection by the prosecution, Wingert did not answer.
Duyana Broughton, from MBI’s Crime Scene Unit, was also called to process the car, and she testified that she noted the same bullet holes found by Wingert. She said she also found the three bullets in the rear tire -- a total of nine shots that entered Williams’ car.
Brian McIntire, from the Mississippi Crime Lab was the last agent called by the prosecution to testify Thursday.
McIntire stated that he tested both weapons belonging to the Alford and Beck, once in March 2011 and again in April 2011. He testified that he could not determine if the fragmented bullets were fired from either weapon.
Gary Bankston, owner of Bankston Wrecker Service in Carrollton, concluded testimony Thursday. Bankston testified that, after being dispatched by the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department to tow Williams’ vehicle, he took Williams’ vehicle to the EOC.
Court resumed today at 9 a.m.