LIMA — Jurors in the murder trial of Kenneth Cobb listened to recordings Wednesday in which the Lima man told police he fired the gunshot that killed Branson Tucker following a January 2019 dispute over gambling at an after-hours establishment.
With Sgt. Jason Garlock of the Lima Police Department on the witness stand, prosecutors played the recording of a telephone call placed by Cobb to the LPD sergeant mere hours after the shooting that took place in the early morning hours of Jan. 15 at 975 St. Johns Ave. in Lima.
“I shot the mother-(expletive), I’m not gonna lie,” Cobb told Garlock. “I wanna turn myself in, but not until I talk to a lawyer. They tried to rob me … because I was winning at a dice game.”
Cobb said Tucker, one of several males at the St. Johns Avenue establishment, attempted to steal his gambling winnings.“He had a gun and I snatched it from him. I tried to shoot him in the leg. I feel sick about this. This is (messing) my brain up,” Cobb told Garlock.
That version of his story, Cobb would admit to detectives a short time later, was only “99.9% the truth.”
Cobb turned himself in to police on the morning following the shooting and took part in a jailhouse interview with Garlock and LPD Detective Todd Jennings. During that interview, which was played for jurors, Cobb initially told a story similar to the one he had told Garlock over the phone. He said there was a pile of cash in front of him on a pool table — his winnings from a dice game that involved Chainze Tucker and Branson Tucker — when he was attacked by another male in the room.
“The little black mother-(expletive) hit me and the dude with the nub (Branson Tucker) had a gun. He pointed at me and I took it away from him and shot him,” Cobb said. Tucker’s right arm was amputated at the elbow, prompting the “nub” reference.
At that point Cobb told Garlock and Jennings, “I’ve told you too much already; I ain’t gonna incriminate nobody. I told you I shot the guy and I told you I didn’t have a gun. If there was ever a case of self defense, this is it.”
But Cobb changed his version of events after being told by LPD Detective Steve Stechschulte of statements made by Lima resident Jerome Fuqua to police. Fuqua was found by police inside the St. Johns Avenue establishment following the Jan. 15 shooting. He has also been charged with Tucker’s murder.
“Jerome originally tried to take the hit for you. He told us he had the gun and handed it to you,” Stechschulte told Cobb. “You need to tell us 100% of the truth, not 99.9%.”
Cobb agreed there was “one little thing I didn’t tell tell them (LPD officers Garlock and Jennings) but I’m not gonna tell on nobody.”
While Cobb has admitted firing the shot that killed Branson Tucker, Defense Attorney Dustin Blake in his opening statements to jurors claimed the shooting of Tucker was in self-defense and was justified because Cobb was being robbed at the time.
Dr. Jeffrey Hudson, a forensic pathologist with the Lucas County Coroner’s Office, testified Tuesday that Tucker’s death was the result of a single gunshot wound to the right hip and the extensive loss of blood that followed.
Several witnesses testified that after the shooting Tucker was loaded into what was later found to be a stolen SUV and fled from the St. Johns Avenue location. Due to icy road conditions the SUV slid off the road and struck a utility pole on Michael Avenue in Lima, where police first became involved.