Defense scrutinizes woman's account of fatal shooting

Jessica Priest By Jessica Priest

Aug. 7, 2013 at 3:07 a.m.

Defense attorneys continued to scrutinize a woman's account of a 2012 fatal shooting Wednesday morning.

Allaceia Stephney's testimony took most of the second day of the capital murder trial of Donnell Deshaun Dilworth Jr., 23, and Dedrick Roy Bonner, 19.

The men are charged with shooting Stephney's fiance, Jerry Paul James, 37, in the head and Stephney in the lower left leg April 24, 2012, at the Regency Studio Apartments complex in Victoria.

Prosecutors believe they did so because they thought James snitched on them about a robbery they committed at the same complex previously.

Lee Lewis, who represents Dilworth, pointed out that snitch was a label often assigned to James.

Both he and Jerry Clark, who represents Bonner, also asked repeatedly why Stephney's phone was found beside a knife in a grassy area where the shooting occurred.

Bonner shot James but only after James lunged at him with two kitchen knives, Clark said.

Stephney, 26, said her phone flew from her hand during the attack. She maintained throughout the day that she never saw James with a knife nor did she wield a weapon, despite Clark pointing out in a crime scene photo a stick he thought resembled a two-by-four board she was known to use in other fights.

Lewis also asked her whether she even wanted to be in court.

"I don't want to look at them anymore," Stephney said of the defendants. "I'm in fear. I'm angry. I'm a lot of things."

Guilt was one of those emotions, she said.

"I feel guilty for letting my (fiance) around these people. I should have moved from that neighborhood," she said.

Her statements supported the state's earlier assertions that residents of Regency feared the defendants and the repercussion of snitching.

The state also called a neighbor, Shannon Harris; Dilworth's ex-girlfriend, Georgina Morales; and Travis County Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Satish Chundru.

Chundru determined during the autopsy that James had low levels of cocaine, an average level of Valium and another drug in his system.

He admitted upon questioning from Lewis that cocaine continues to break down even after death. That means his levels of cocaine could have been higher at the time of the shooting.

Dilworth and Bonner also face an aggravated assault charge for the shooting of Stephney, which in this case is a first-degree felony.

The state is not seeking the death penalty in the capital murder charge.

The trial will resume at 9 a.m. Thursday before Judge Robert C. Cheshire. Prosecutors are scheduled to continue questioning Morales, who drove a white car in which the defendants arrived at the complex.



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