LIMA — Testimony in the opening day of a jury trial for a Lima man who prosecutors say took part in an organized armed robbery and kidnapping nearly a year ago ran the gamut on Tuesday.
Jurors heard from one of the alleged victims in the case, who admitted she lied to hospital and law enforcement officials and also waited a week to tell police the truth about the incident because she feared for her life and continues to live in fear to this day.
Also taking the witness stand was a convicted felon brought back from Utah to testify who mostly answered questions with one-word replies and in some cases refused to answer queries from attorneys at all.
In her opening statements to jurors, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Rebecca King-Newman said testimony in the trial will show that Kiarris Laws conspired with two others to rob Dequaisha Wilson and Alonzo Williams on the evening of Dec. 2, 2018, and that Laws suggested killing the two victims and their infant child before being talked out of that plan.
Wilson was one of the opening witnesses when the trial got underway Tuesday. She testified that she had gone to “The Village” on Bradfield Drive to pick up clothes for her infant son that Williams, the boy’s father, had told her he would give her. Upon arriving at the apartment complex and opening the door of a vehicle she believed Williams was in, Wilson said she was pulled out of the car by Marquavius Shurelds, also known as Bra-Bra.
Wilson said she was “snatched up” by Shurelds and taken inside an apartment.
“He (Shurelds) covered my mouth with his hand and told me to shut the (expletive) up, or he’d kill me,” Wilson testified.
Inside the home, she said she found Williams lying on the floor bleeding after allegedly being stabbed in what was later described as a drug deal gone bad. Wilson said Laws was “standing at the apartment door with a gun, pointing it at me and my son.” At one point later in the evening, Wilson testified, Laws said, “We might as well kill her; she’s gonna tell everybody.”
Wilson said she was allowed to leave later that evening and took Williams to a hospital in Van Wert, where she told hospital officials his name was Jalen Bracey. She admitted lying about Williams’ true identity because there was a warrant for his arrest in Allen County and because “I was told I would be killed if I told the truth” about where Williams was injured and how. “I was scared,” she told jurors. “I’m still scared.”
Also taking the stand was Lamot Jones, in whose apartment the incident in question took place. Jones initially refused to answer questions about Laws’ involvement, saying, “I’m only here to answer kidnapping questions.” But Jones did put Laws at the scene, with a gun. He said Laws “raised a gun and pointed it at Alonzo (Williams)” in an attempt to get information about drugs and money that Williams had access to.
Laws, 28,is charged with one count of aggravated robbery with a firearm specification and a specification as a repeat offender, a first-degree felony. Other charges in the indictment were three counts of kidnapping, first-degree felonies with specifications for the use of firearms and for being a repeat offender; and one count of having weapons under disability, a third-degree felony.
Testimony in the trial will resume Wednesday.