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Murder trial: Day one, part two:

A long, interesting afternoon of testimony in the murder trial of Jamarris Latuan ‘Man’ Williams ensued after the lunch break Tuesday, Feb. 3. Williams is charged with hijacking the cab of John Dixson on March 15, 2012, stabbing Dixson in the throat and leaving him to die in a southeast Lamar County ravine off Forsyth-Yatesville Road known as ‘the dropoff’. State witnesses were examined by assistant district attorney Scott Johnston or his colleague Matt Bridges. Cross examination was done by public defender Douglas Smith or his assistant Rusty Knox. Afternoon testimony Tuesday began shortly after 1 p.m. Eric Shontae Hamm, 38: Hamm testified that he was from the Forsyth-Yatesville Road area. On March 16, 2012, he was with Kelis Collier at the Dixson home on Akins Street in Barnesville with a host of Dixson family members and a large assortment of hangers-on. He said Reginald Fambro told him where the cab was found and he decided to go out there in his car to check ‘the dropoff’ or ‘the dump’ which, according to testimony, is 300 yards north of the Lamar-Monroe line on the dirt road. Collier went with him. As they passed a guard rail over the ravine, Hamm and Collier saw tire tracks in the grass. He testified that ‘did not look right to him’ so they stopped and walked back to the guardrail. “Kelis saw the body first then I saw it. I did not touch anything. I recognized Mr. Dixson. I called 911 on Kelis’ phone,” he said. The prosecution played the 911 tape in court. On the tape he says, “We found the body”. He identifies Dixson by name and directs officers to the spot. “I am from the area. My first instinct was to look here,” he told the 911 operator and gave Collier’s phone number. On cross examination, he told public defender Douglas Smith that, while at the Dixson home, he told Laterrance Dixson and Reginald Fambro he and Collier were going to search ‘the dropoff’. Christa Evans, 36, Jamarris Williams’ girlfriend: Evans testififed she lived with the defendant at #10 Fuller’s Trailer Park. The victim, Dixson, was her “aunt’s uncle, like my uncle”. She said Williams left the house March 15 saying he was going to look for work. She remained in bed. She said he woke her up the following day, March 16, 2012, at about 6:20 a.m. after being out all night long. “He said he needed to talk to me. He said somebody said ‘I did something wrong. They said I hurt somebody’,” she testified. When she asked who, Williams said ‘the cab man’. She asked ‘what cab man’ and Williams said’ Mr. John’. ”I started screaming,” Evans added. ”He dead. They think I killed him,” Williams told Evans. At that point, Dixson’s body had not been found. ”They think I killed him,” Williams said. Evans said she screamed again and Williams promised her he did not do it. She said Williams pulled a knife and threatened to harm himself. Evans said she screamed again and went to her mother’s house. She testified Williams arrived back home the previous day driving the white pickup belonging to Deana Jackson. She said her son, then 15, drove the truck around. Under cross examination by public defender Douglas Smith, Evans said she and Williams went to High Falls in the truck on March 15. They visited her cousin and went to a store. Williams, she said, talked to her about getting some t-shirt work. Shown evidence, she identified the change bag and said it looked like one she had. She also identified her phone and a hair pic (comb) she said was her daughter’s and a tube of Carmex. There was also a lighter she did not recognize. Brad White: White is now sheriff. At the time of the murder, he was then-sheriff Larry Waller’s chief deputy. He said he arrested Williams and took items off his person and gave them to Capt. Magggie Moreland of the BPD. He remembered the change bag, phone and Carmex – not the lighter. At this point there was a long break as witnesses were awaited. Capt. Maggie Moreland, BPD: Moreland identified the items taken off Williams by White and said she turned them in as evidence. She was shown a list of Williams’ personal items at the time of his arrest and agreed she signed the list. There were two lists. One detailed at 11 a.m on March 16, 2012. The other at !2:46 p.m. the same day. The second list included shoes, shorts blue jeans and, notably, six cents in cash. Investigator Ernie McWhorter, BPD: McWhorter testified about multiple search warrants he applied for and received from then chief magisate William Thomas. The warrants okayed searches of the residence of Jenez Williams and Alicedonia Jones at 5 Miami Street; the home of Jamarris Williams and Christa Evans at Lot 10, Fuller’s Trailer Park; a warrant for fingernail clippings and DNA swabs from the mouth of Jamarris Williams, and a second search of the 5 Miami Street home. He said he and a host of other local law enforcement personnel and GBI agents found a pair of jeans on the floor by a loveseat at the trailer home of Evans and the defendant which were taken into evidence. Judge Fears allowed the warrants into evidence but ruled against them, and associated affidavits, going out with the jury when deliberations begin due to hearsay concerns. Under cross examination, McWhorter said he was involved in the search for bloody money at the Miami Street scene but found none. He also swore he never searched the attic there. Rhiannon Morgan, GBI special agent: Morgan said she was the lead agent when the trailer at Fuller’s was searched and that she bagged up the evidence. That evidence included blue jeans with apparent blood stains. Also seized were a t-shirt, taken due to its proximity to the jeans, and thermal underwear pants. All appeared to have blood on them. Todd Crosby, GBI crime scene specialist: Crosby’s testimony was lengthy and unfinished when court proceedings ended at 5:25 p.m. Tuesday. He testified of multiple scene probes involved in the case and will be back on the stand when court resumes at 9 a.m. Wednesday. He first probed Dixson’s cab, a 1996 Mercury Marquis, where it was found at Deana Jackson’s home. He first photographed the cab and checked the trunk for Dixson’s body which was not there. He found what appeared to be blood near the front left tire that tested negative. He testified he found two samples of blood splatter evidence and two samples of blood swipe (smear) evidence in the driver’s compartment of the cab. All were sent to the state crime lab. He also checked the Jackson pickup after it had been moved to the fire station on Hwy. 36. He found a faint reaction to blood determination reagents on the passenger seat and sent associated swabs to the crime lab. He checked the jeans in question with a presumptive blood test and got a positive reaction. They also went to the crime lab. He went to the 5 Miami Street location twice and saw shreds of blown insulation on the kitchen floor below and attic access. He did a check of the attic, saw a foot impression but no blood. He did find a towel and a pair of socks with blood evidence on them that were sent to the lab. He said he had just left the Jackson home on Forsyth-Yatesville Road about 12:30 p.m. March 16, when LCSO investigator Todd Pippin called to tell him Hamm and Collier had found Dixson’s body. They were the first on the scene and taped it off. Crosby did a quick evaluation of the road, taking photos and casts of what appeared to be ATV tracks before a storm blew in. Crosby testifed he did a triangulation and Dixsons’ body was about 50 feet from his locating mark at the north end of the guardrail. He testified Dixson was found lying face down and partially on his right side. Dixson’s feet were up underneath him in a semi-fetal position. His pants were down around his knees and his shoes and jacket were underneath him. Dixson had injuries to his left ear and cheek and to the area of his right ear. Crosby was extensively cross examined by Knox who asked if the cab had been wiped down. He said it had not. Crosby told Knox Deana Jackson approached him and voluntarily reported she had taken trash from the cab. He identifed those items as envelopes, a chip bag and lottery tickets etc. which he seized. Crosby told Knox neither the cab nor the Jackson truck were fingerprinted because Williams was known to frequent them. He also told Knox there was blood on Dixson’s shoe and it appeared that, at one point, Dixson was standing and bleeding down upon them. He said Dixson’s body and the surrounding scene were photographed extensively and Dixson’s hands were bagged so his nails could be clipped at the crime lab to see if there was DNA under them. He also noted the Lamar CERT team found a knife near where the body was found on Monday, March 19, 2012. He said, though he felt it had been there a long time, he still had it tested. Knox entered into evidence multiple photos Crosby agreed he took at the 5 Miami Street home. They depicted a virtural cesspool of clothes piled in trash bags, in a crib and overflowing from closets. Crosby often corrected Knox on which evidence number was assigned to the photo he was testifying about at the time. A green towel a pair of socks with apparent blood on them were taken from the home for testing. A sofa was sprayed with a blood reagent. Knox hinted Crosby sprayed only the arms of the sofa which Crosby denied. Crosby did note that special agent Brian Hargrove was in the home. “I am not aware of what all he sprayed,” Crosby said as proceedings closed for the day. Crosby will be back on the stand when the trial resumes at 9 a.m Wednesday. After the jury was dismissed, Judge Bill Fears called the prosecution and defense together at the bench and reported that what appeared to be a lighter had fallen from an evidence bag that had entered into evidence earlier in the day. The lighter turned out to be a small knife. It was decided both sides would commiserate overnight on this dilemna. Judge Fears took the knife into his personal custody in the interim.

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