injured in the shooting to tell the jury their version of what happened that night.
The first victim, 29-yearold Tavorris “T-Rock” Shy, testified that he was at the home shooting dice when he glanced up, saw Pridgett shoot one victim in the head, then yell for everyone to “get down.” Although he told jurors that he did as he was told, he was still shot. A .22 bullet went through his finger — which he had covering the back of his head — and into his head; another bullet hit his chest and yet another hit his side.
Shy ran from the home and called 911. He can be heard on the tape breathing heavily and speaking almost groggily to dispatch operators. Officers from the Covington Police Department testified that when they arrived they found him in the area of the railroad tracks on West Street heading toward U.S. Highway 278. When he saw them, he allegedly collapsed in front of their patrol vehicles but was able to identify Pridgett as the person who had shot him.
As the tape played several people in the courtroom cried quietly.
Sedarius “Ronte” Stephens, 23, gave a similar story about the men playing dice at Pridgett’s apartment when Pridgett suddenly turned on them. He was shot in the hand and the left side of the chest and told jurors that Pridgett shot “until the clip ended.”
The third victim, 18year-old Martec “Pumpkin” Barkley, said that he was on his knees shooting dice when he heard Pridgett say “Bet P,” and the next thing he remembered was a loud ringing “like a bell” before blacking out. When he came to, he told jurors that he once again heard Pridgett, this time saying to Shy “T-Rock, there ain’t no sense in running now, you about to die.”
Chase Clemmons, Pridgett’s girlfriend at the time of the shooting, admitted that she was in the house when it happened but not in the room and that she went with Pridgett to his mother’s house afterward and drove him to his uncle’s house where he was later arrested.
Several hours after the shooting, she admitted to telling CPD Capt. Craig Treadwell that she was scared of Pridgett and her actions that night were all fueled by that. But on the stand she had to refer to her testimony several times and at one point had to be reprimanded by the judge.
Officer Justin Blankenship testified that after he arrived at the home and went inside to clear it, he noticed a pair of Chuck Taylor tennis shoes, later determined to belong to Jerome Glover, poking out of the kitchen area, the feet inside kicking and moving about. Knowing there was at least one gunshot victim at this point, Blankenship said he drew his weapon and kept instructing the wearer to show his hands.
“It sounded like he was crying,” he said. “He was trying to comply but he couldn’t. His hands were flopping on his chest. He just kept repeating ‘I can’t, I’m dying. I think I’m dying.’”
Once again, Glover’s family began to cry as Blankenship described the area Glover was found in and his wounds. According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Medical Examiner Dr. Jonathan Eisenstat who later performed his autopsy, Glover was shot once in the head, twice in the right arm and twice in the torso. The combination of his head wound and one of the chest wounds proved lethal.
“I asked him what was wrong, and he said he’d been shot in the head and chest. He said something to the effect of ‘Jamaall Pridgett did this to me,’” said Blankenship. “He kept trying to get up but his body just wouldn’t let him. He was just fighting it really bad.”
Pridgett took the stand Wednesday afternoon. He told jurors about the men who were shot and the one who was killed. He also explained neighborhood alliances and testified that while he knew Shy, Stephens, Glover and Barkley, they were all closer to one another then they were with him.
He also talked candidly about his day leading up to the shooting at his apartment on West Street. He said that around 11 a.m., he, Glover and Barkley were in the yard of his home “kicking it,” and that there were no problems between any of them. When asked to describe what “kicking it” meant, Pridgett explained that they had been selling drugs, specifically cocaine, out of the front yard, while talking with one another. All of the other men had testified there was no drug activity going on that day.
Also that day he testified that he had purchased drugs from Stephens at a discounted price in order to re-sell them himself. He explained that it was common for them to do that; if one person had a lot of cocaine and the others were running low, they would sell to one another at a lower price. He also admitted to having been involved with selling drugs since the age of 14.
Later that day, a woman who was a regular client of Pridgett’s and whom he had sold drugs to earlier in the day, came back to his home and wanted her money back. She accused him of selling her fake drugs, and according to Pridgett’s testimony they were from the drugs he had purchased from Stephens earlier that day. An argument erupted over the drugs with one person blaming the other for the bad drugs.
At one point Pridgett said that Barkley made the comment to him that he was going to kill him, and in the next moment he said he saw Stephens make a throat cut- ting sign and Glover lunged at him. He said he swung at Glover but that he came back at him which is when he went for the gun he had tucked into the waist of his pants.
“When I pulled my gun out, it was panic and fear and I was just thinking I had to make it out of there alive,” said Pridgett. “I wouldn't say I was trying to kill them; I was scared, and I was trying to defend myself.”
During closing arguments, Smith told the jury that the reason all of the victims in the case were lying was because they had reason to. Most had criminal histories and were on probation at the time. Admitting to having drugs and guns would have surely been a violation of their probations and could possibly send them back to jail.
“I’m not saying these guys deserve to be shot, but it’s easy to see why they would be lying,” said Smith.
What makes sense in this case is what the evidence, the overwhelming evidence, shows. That Mr. Pridgett came into that room and attacked three unsuspecting individuals,” countered Malcolm in his closing remarks.
“…Mr. Glover never had the opportunity to get off the floor. He was murdered in cold blood and laid there and bled out all over that kitchen floor. A 19-yearold man whose life was cut tragically short because of Mr. Pridgett’s rage and his opportunistic greed; he wanted money and he took money through violence and through gunshots.
As Malcolm continued his closing, Glover’s mother began to cry and then, as pictures of a blood-smeared freezer where her son had fallen were shown, began to sob in earnest. She was led from the court screaming “my baby!” as Pridgett’s mother put her face in her hands and cried silently.
“I ask you when you go back into the jury room that you think about Mr. Glover and you think about the three other men who were shot and robbed on that evening,” said Malcolm. “Unsuspected by someone they trusted and thought to be a friend. Think about them; think about the victims in this case. The defendant has to be held accountable. It’s your job to hold him responsible. Think of the young men who testified however you want to. Like them, dislike them, it doesn’t matter; it only matters if they were telling the truth.”
In the end, the jury was unable to reach a verdict. The judge asked if more time would help them decide and they unanimously agreed that they were deadlocked. Pridgett was returned to the Newton County Detention Center and will remain there until a date can be set for a new trial.