Pros­e­cu­tion in­tro­duces ini­tial po­lice state­ments

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - REGION - BY ZACK PETER­SON STAFF WRITER

As they con­tinue to pros­e­cute a 34-year-old man ac­cused of dou­ble homi­cide at a 2016 house party, state at­tor­neys Fri­day in­tro­duced an early in­ter­view from an in­con­sis­tent wit­ness they say ex­plains Stephen Mob­ley’s mo­tive.

One day af­ter the Sept. 5, 2016, shoot­ing on Pinewood Drive that killed Jas­mine Hines, 22, and Rashaud Tay­lor, 23, Chat­tanooga po­lice spoke with Jeremy Cot­ton about what sparked an ar­gu­ment that oc­curred shortly be­fore the vi­o­lence.

“Do you know what that was over?” Chat­tanooga de­tec­tive Christo­pher Black­well asked. “P——,” Cot­ton replied. Ac­cord­ing to the in­ter­view, Cot­ton said Hines and an­other vic­tim who sur­vived that night, Zirr­shad­dia Scott, were ar­gu­ing with Mob­ley over vomit. Af­ter a day of drink­ing al­co­hol, smok­ing mar­i­juana and tak­ing Xanax at the Pinewood Drive home and Chat­tanooga Bil­liard Club, Scott drank a warm beer and threw up in a kitchen sink early in the morn­ing.

That up­set Mob­ley, who’d been seen through­out the night with a 9 mm gun, pros­e­cu­tors said.

When pros­e­cu­tors be­gan their case Wed­nes­day, they told ju­rors that Mob­ley lashed out be­cause he felt dis­re­spected by the fe­males. But the eye­wit­nesses didn’t iden­tify Mob­ley as the shooter. Scott, for in­stance, tes­ti­fied she passed out around the time of the ar­gu­ment and woke up with gun­shot wounds. Oth­ers, such as Cot­ton, gave in­con­sis­tent state­ments, pros­e­cu­tors said.

David Reed, who lived at the home, said he left when Mob­ley got mad about the vomit and or­dered ev­ery­body out. Reed said he walked down the road to Cot­ton’s house and heard gun­shots but then passed out.

Ac­cord­ing to the in­ter­view that pros­e­cu­tors played Fri­day, Cot­ton said Reed was in tears when he ar­rived. Then, two min­utes later, Cot­ton told Black­well in the in­ter­view, they saw Mob­ley on the street.

Ear­lier this week on the wit­ness stand, Cot­ton said he could not re­call telling Black­well that and in­stead tes­ti­fied that he saw a “fig­ure.” Cot­ton added he was con­cerned about re­tal­i­a­tion.

Af­ter the shoot­ing, Mob­ley’s aunt drove him to a mo­tel on Lee High­way around 6:30 a.m., ac­cord­ing to court tes­ti­mony. Mob­ley posted a video to Face­book pro­claim­ing his in­no­cence and then turned him­self in to au­thor­i­ties on Sept. 7, 2016.

Mob­ley, who has pleaded not guilty to the shoot­ing, faces two counts of first­de­gree mur­der and one count each of at­tempted first-de­gree mur­der, ag­gra­vated as­sault and em­ploy­ing a firearm dur­ing a dan­ger­ous felony.

His pub­lic de­fend­ers pushed back Fri­day, say­ing Chat­tanooga of­fi­cers made a rush to judg­ment by seek­ing an ar­rest war­rant for Mob­ley be­fore test­ing any of his clothes, which came back neg­a­tive for gun­shot residue. Po­lice based that war­rant, in part, on an in­ter­view with Reed, whose fa­ther tes­ti­fied that Mob­ley told him in a phone call not to speak to in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

De­fend­ers added po­lice didn’t col­lect surveil­lance footage from a traf­fic cam­era on Pinewood Drive that could have il­lu­mi­nated what hap­pened af­ter the shoot­ing. They also have chal­lenged the pros­e­cu­tion’s nar­ra­tive that Mob­ley felt dis­re­spected, say­ing Reed tried to sex­u­ally propo­si­tion Hines dur­ing the party.

De­fend­ers made an­other ar­gu­ment Fri­day: Other peo­ple had more mo­ti­va­tion to hurt Hines, who spoke with po­lice about her fa­ther’s un­solved homi­cide from March 2016 and feared re­tal­i­a­tion.

“Do you know, through your in­ves­ti­ga­tion, that Michael Hines was shot in the left tem­ple just like his daugh­ter?” As­sis­tant Pub­lic De­fender Steve Brown asked Black­well.

Hines also broad­cast her lo­ca­tion through­out the night on a Face­book live video, de­fend­ers said.

The trial con­tin­ues to­day in Hamilton County Crim­i­nal Court be­fore Judge Barry Steel­man.

Stephen Mob­ley

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