A Greensboro man on trial for murder took the stand in his own defense and repeatedly denied that he killed a Winston-Salem man last year in the parking lot of an apartment complex.
But while he denied the charge of murder, he did admit other things, such as lying to police.
He also admitted to writing letters while incarcerated at the Forsyth County Jail.
Forsyth County prosecutors allege those letters were his attempts to put a hit out on the one eyewitness who identified him as the shooter — the victim’s girlfriend. But the defendant, William Anthony Brown, denied that he tried to have the woman killed.
Brown, 29, of Greensboro, is on trial for first-degree murder in the shooting death of Jahmil Ismail Al-Amin, 25, on March 10, 2017.
Kayuana Talley, Al-Amin’s girlfriend, testified last week that she saw Brown, whom she knew only as Skeme, pull out a gun and fire eight times at Al-Amin from a car he was driving in the parking lot of Bethabara Pointe Circle, an apartment complex.
Brown told Winston-Salem detectives that he was in Greensboro at the time of the shooting.
But FBI special agent Michael Sutton testified last week that cellphone records showed Brown made calls that bounced off cell towers near the Winston-Salem apartment complex around the same time as the shooting.
On Thursday, Brown told a Forsyth County jury that he lied. Brown testified Thursday that he was in Winston-Salem but in a different section of the city and that he learned that Al-Amin had been shot while he was driving back to Greensboro that night.
He said he lied because he was afraid of being implicated in Al-Amin’s death when he knew he didn’t commit the crime. He testified he drove a light-gray Chevy Malibu to a house near Germanton Road.
Talley testified that she saw Brown driving a silver-colored Chevy Malibu when Brown shot Al-Amin.
Brown also admitted on the stand that he was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, inflicting serious injury, that he had been in a gang and that he sold marijuana.
Under cross-examination, Brown admitted that he wrote several letters that were intercepted by detention officers at the Forsyth County Jail.
Assistant District Attorney Matt Breeding asked Brown why he was trying to have Talley killed, as he said the letters indicated.
Brown said he never hired or talked to someone either inside or outside the jail about having Talley killed.
One letter was to a Ray Inge Jr. that indicated that Inge was an attorney who lived in Danville.
According to testimony, there is no Ray Inge Jr. who is licensed to practice law in Virginia and North Carolina.
The letter provides an address for Talley and indicates that her house is not being watched.
“Have your GPS set for the home before you get out the car, so you will have the fastest route to the highway,” the letter said, according to a search warrant.
Breeding also asked about a conversation Brown is alleged to have had with another inmate in the Forsyth County Jail.
According to a search warrant, the inmate told Forsyth County detention officers that Brown was trying to get him to kill Talley and that he was supposed to meet up with someone named “Glock” once he was out of jail.
Once he and “Glock” met up, they were to kill Talley, according to the search warrant.
Brown said Thursday that he never told anyone to kill Talley, but acknowledged that he did not want Talley to testify. Breeding mentioned another letter in which Brown asked if the person had any moral problems with doing something to a “female.” Brown said that referred to assaulting a woman, but not to killing a woman.
“I didn’t speak to that man about this case,” Brown said, mentioning that the inmate was in jail on a charge of stealing a television.
“I’m not going to ask a TV thief to do something crazy.”
Forsyth County prosecutors rested their case Thursday. It’s not clear if Brown’s attorney, Jason Crump, will present other evidence today.