Lawyers grill APD detective

ALBANY, Ga. -- With opening statements finished, prosecutors and defense attorneys began questioning witnesses Friday, with an Albany police investigator who witnessed the shooting but who was off duty when it occurred spending the most time on the stand.

Tchywaskie Jones, Dabkowski Luke and Jerry Lee Harris are on trial this week, indicted in connection with the June 16, 2009, shooting at Carver Pool that injured Donald Winchester in what the state claims to have been a gang-related incident.

The state began calling witnesses Friday during its portion of the case, which included three people who testified that they they had been involved in a dispute earlier in the day, which the state referenced in its opening remarks as a possible motive in the shooting.

Sequoia Jefferson, Andrea Mitchell and Takeisha Walker testified that they had been at Carver Pool and that a dispute arose that ended with Luke's child, who was with one of the women, being inadvertently punched.

But the lion's share of testimony Friday came from Albany Police Department Detective Darryl Jones, who testified that he was standing near the corner of Burke Avenue and McKinley Street just before the shooting occurred.

Off duty, Jones testified that he received word just before the incident that a possible fight involving gang members had broken out.

Jones told the court that he called members of the gang unit and had them respond to the scene, but that before they arrived, he heard shots fired.

Clad in a black tee shirt, black shorts but no badge, Jones, who had his gun, said that he saw Harris walking near nearby with a gun and saw him start shooting. While he initially pulled his weapon, Jones said he holstered it when the patrons at the pool started running during the chaos of the moment and ducked for cover behind a nearby trash can.

Jones went on to testify that he heard seven or eight shots, but, on cross examination by Defense attorneys Jim Finklestein, Sandra Satchel and Roosevelt Carter, said that he never saw Jones or Luke with a gun or shooting during the incident.

During the detective's testimony it was revealed that his final report, which contained the names and nicknames of the defendants and was to be included in the larger case file on the incident, was lost. Jones testified that it was because of technical problem when APD switched computer systems. Under cross examination, Satchel pointed out that at least five police officers managed to include their narratives without problems on the same day or after Jones submitted his. Finklestein also questioned Jones about if, upon learning that the report had been lost just a week after it had happened, he rewrote the report. Jones said he had not.

With Jones' final report lost, all that is included with the case file from him is a general, shorter narrative describing the incident which doesn't include the names of the defendants or their nicknames, though he knew each of the defendants before the shooting and had recognized them as being involved to some degree. With Finklestein questioning, Jones admitted that he wrote the shorter narrative the night of the incident to comply with an APD policy so that he could get home, but intended to file a more thorough report the next day, which he contends he did.

On redirect, Assistant District Attorney Matthew Breedon also questioned Jones on the report, but managed to get Jones to point out that he had given a full verbal account of the incident -- which Jones said essentially mirrored what he had reportedly put in the final report that was lost -- to the lead detective the night of the incident.

After testifying for several hours Friday, Jones and the jurors were dismissed around 5:30 p.m. and told to be back in court Monday morning at 9:29 a.m. to resume the trial.