The trial of Christopher "Big Boy" Rozier, Xavier "Pretty Boy" Dyer and Willie "Scooter" Dyer will continue today following an exhaustive first day in court Tuesday in which the prosecution called 12 people to the stand.
The trio is charged in connection with the murder of Tony Richardson on Jan. 29, 2007. Richardson's body was found off Stewart Road by a couple out joyriding on their four-wheelers.
Liberty Harris, who is also charged with murder in the case, testified after receiving immunity during the trial from Judge Horace Johnson. Her testimony proved to be muddled and confusing as she repeatedly changed her story while on the stand.
The prosecution contends Harris, along with the three defendants, reportedly mixed rat poison in with Richardson's crack cocaine because she believed the victim to be a snitch. Assistant District Attorney Melanie B. McCrorey said when the poison did not achieve the desired result, Xavier Dyer and Rozier took Richardson into woods and shot him six times with a 9mm handgun.
On the stand, Harris admitted to complaining to Rozier and Xavier Dyer that she believed Richardson to be a snitch, but denied she came up with the idea of using rat poison.
"I was sitting in the bedroom and a conversation came up about rat poison," Harris said. "I said, 'Ya'll know what he like to do,' cause 'Big Boy' was talking about shooting him."
Harris said she did not follow the rest of the conversation because she was high on crack cocaine.
Later, during cross examination, Harris admitted coming up with idea of killing Richardson.
"OK, it was my idea, but that doesn't mean they have to go out and do anything," Harris said. "But I didn't kill nobody."
The switch in statements was one of many during Harris' testimony. Throughout the testimony, Harris contradicted her previous statements given to Newton County Sheriff's investigators shortly after the murder. When McCrorey reminded Harris of the previous statements, her story changed to reflect her original account.
At one point, when asked if her testimony Tuesday was the truth or if her report to investigators was true, she responded, "A little of both."
"When they first did me, when they interrogated me, I was real tired and on drugs," Harris said.
Erica Brookin, Harris's niece, testified her aunt came over to her house a few days after the reported murder and admitted to being part of the crime.
"Finally she broke down and said that she had had her best friend killed," Brookin said.
Brookin, who visited Harris' house the night Richardson was reportedly murdered said she saw the victim, Xavier Dyer and Rozier that night, but not Willie Dyer.
Brookin admitted, on a night previous to the alleged murder, Xavier Dyer and Rozier had driven her and a friend out to the same road Richardson was found on and threatened to kill them with a shotgun and a 9mm handgun.
"They had us shook up like they were going to murder us," Brookin said. "They had us begging for our lives."
The two men later said the incident was just to let her know they were "nothing to play with," she said.
Harris' former housemate, Larry Barr, also testified on Tuesday. Barr was formerly charged in the case, but those charges were later dead docketed because of a lack of evidence, McCrorey said.
Barr said he saw Richardson with the defendants the night he was murdered, but he did not see them leave together.
Along with charges in connection with Richardson's murder, Rozier and Xavier Dyer were also charged with the sale of cocaine for an arrest on Feb. 1, 2007.
In her opening statements, McCrorey said investigators set up a drug bust to nab the men they only knew at the time as "Big Boy" and "Pretty Boy." NCSO Sgt. Tyrone Oliver and Covington/Newton Special Investigations Unit Commander Phillip Bradford testified the operation involved a confidential informant arranging a drug deal with the two defendants before actually making the exchange.
When the CI left after buying the drugs, Oliver said the Ford Explorer driven by Rozier was pulled over. Investigators were then able to identify their CI's money in Xavier Dyer's possession based on the bills' serial numbers.
Rozier's attorney Andre Sailers argued his client did not actually partake in the exchange while Xavier Dyer's attorney Lee Sexton said investigators could not prove his client had actually sold the CI the drugs. According to testimony, a third person in the Explorer, who is not involved in the murder case, was the only occupant to have drugs on his person at the time of the arrests.
The case is expected to resume today at 9 a.m. and processed until the end of the week.