Former East football player testifies in murder trial, says dispute over beer led to shooting
A former Victoria East High School football player testified Wednesday that Marcellus Brown stood on his left side last summer as the pair fired weapons near the Pine Street Park.
Brown, 21, is one of six people charged with murder in the shooting death of Daniel Davila, a 24-year-old Victoria man who police say may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time after teens fought about beer.
Jefferson Hill, 19, a co-defendant, was the first witness called by the state to place Brown at the scene, which police initially worked as a routine shooting before Davila's body was discovered in the 900 block of Goldman some 10 hours later.
Goldman street runs perpendicular to Pine Street, which borders the park. The shooting occurred at the intersection of Goldman and Pine streets.
Hill said a fight at a party at 806 Ash St. during the early morning hours of July 30, 2011 set everything in motion.
The house faces the park.
Then, his friend Joshua McClure's face bled after someone hit him with a beer bottle. Brown distributed a shotgun, a .22-caliber revolver and a 9 mm semiautomatic to the disgruntled group after they'd decided to return for revenge, he said.
Both the state and the defense picked apart various statements Hill gave to police prior to Wednesday's testimony.
Hill tried to convince jurors that he was finally coming clean, even going so far as to admit he didn't correct investigators when they'd mistakenly heard him implicate someone named "Doughboy" in the crime to throw them off his friends' tracks, believed what he told them was "what they wanted to hear," and sometimes had an "impulse to tell a story."
"Before, I was just scared. I'm not trying to go to jail," said Hill, who said he had never been in trouble before this incident.
But he was scrutinized anew after admitting he spoke against court orders to another witness, Tyere Lewis, in the hallway.
He said the friends caught up and didn't discuss the case, which Lewis corroborated. He said he was afraid of District Attorney Stephen Tyler, whom he'd made a deal with for a lighter sentence.
"So the jury should trust you not because you know the difference between right and wrong, but because you're scared of me?" Tyler asked, baffled.
"Do you even know what the truth is and what's not?" Defense Attorney Micah Hatley asked after pointing out Hill posted on Facebook about the incident before he was interviewed by authorities and seemed far more concerned about whether this jeopardized a possible collegiate football career.
Tyler reminded Hill that for Davila there will be "no tomorrow."
"His football career, if that was his goal, seeing his child and seeing his second child be born, all of that was snuffed out. He bled out lonely in the dark," he said while showing Hill graphic photos of the body. "That was his future getting chewed on by ants."
The state also called Dr. Kendall Crown, a Travis County medical examiner, and Jennifer Turner, a Harris County forensic scientist specializing in firearms, to the stand.
Crown testified Davila died from one gunshot wound to his right abdomen that "significantly compromised his aorta," a wound that allowed him to walk around and gave him 15 to 20 minutes to live.
He said he believed Davila died where he was found, face down behind a shed with dirt under his fingers, but it was possible he could've been transported there.
Turner meanwhile explained how she concluded the three bullets found, one of which was recovered from Davila, could've come from at least seven manufacturers that she knows of.
She agreed with Hatley's assessment that meant as many as three 9 mm semiautomatics could have been fired that night.
"There's a wide range of possibilities," Hatley said, looking at the list. "There's so many patterns out there, I wouldn't even know how to do the math."
The weapons police allege were used were never found.
The trial will resume at 9 a.m. Thursday before Judge Kemper Stephen Williams. Lewis is expected to continue his testimony then.