ALBANY — Wearing a brown suit at least two sizes too big for him, accused murderer Tracy L. Smith listened to a witness describe him and other men attacking Jerome Walden June 24.
“I saw him (Smith) swing towards Jerome. The board hit him,” said Francis Kegler. “I turned and went the other way. Once they were sure enough pounding on him (Walden), there wasn’t nothing he could do.”
Walden, 45, went to the hospital suffering from swollen eyes, head and chest abrasions, a punctured lung, possible broken ribs and head trauma that day. He died from his injuries about 35 days later.
Two other men, Demarcus Dontravious Lewis, aka “Waka Flocka,” 20 at the time of his arrest, and Calvin Brooks, 29, also were arrested in connection with the murder.
In a trial that began Monday, a jury of five men and nine women, which includes two alternates, was chosen. Chief Assistant District Attorney Heather Lanier was in the process of presenting evidence and witnesses Thursday.
On the witness stand, Kegler said he could not identify Walden as the victim, but he knew that Smith and Lewis had brutally beaten the man in the alley.
Kegler testified that Smith wielded a board and Lewis beat the victim without mercy. The victim fell down, and Kegler said he didn’t see him get up. The men were still beating the victim when Kegler left, he added.
Defense attorney James Finkelstein painted a picture of Kegler as a drinker and a convicted crack smoker, who was confused and out of sight range when the attack happened.
Knowing that Finkelstein would bring up Kegler’s record and a pending crack charge, Lanier had asked Kegler during her initial questioning if she had offered him any promises or deals for his testimony.
“No, I was forced to be here,” Kegler said.