Two witnesses told jurors Wednesday about a March 10, 2011, robbery at the Emma Wheeler Homes. Michael Lebron Branham, who is charged in the case, chose to put on no defense proof.
Attorneys then argued the case in the courtroom of Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman.
Branham, who police say has been involved in several gang-relating shootings and has served two stints in federal prison, is standing trial for aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, aggravated assault, coercion of a witness and being in possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Kalisha Morris and Alan "Little Man" Jordan confirmed that two gunmen came into the residence of Regika Tillery, where they were watching an NBA basketball game and smoking marijuana.
Ms. Morris said Ms. Tillery went outside and then she came back inside with "two dudes behind her with guns."
She said, "They told us to give them everything we had." She said she had nothing and she "kept looking down. I was too scared to look up - to remember what they looked like."
The witness said the pair got money from Ms. Tillery's boyfriend, Reginald Hubbard, then ran out of the front door. She said Ms. Tillery followed them out on the porch. "She said she was going to call the police."
Alan Jordan said one of the robbers was light-skinned and the other was dark-skinned with dreds. He said they told them to "lay it down." He said he gave up his wallet, but they didn't want it because it contained no cash.
He said the man who was confronting him "had a big gun. I was scared. I didn't know if I was going to be shot or not."
The witness said when the pair burst in "we were 'chillin' - as we call it."
He said he had never seen either of the men before.
Investigator Jacques Weary said when he was interviewing the victims, Ms. Tillery got a phone call. He said, "She saw that it was him (Branham). She put it on speaker."
He said he heard Branham warn her, saying, "You're so wrong for calling the police. I'll just say it was a drug deal gone bad." He said Branham told her that if she persisted with prosecuting "it's going to get serious."
The detective said he then got on the line with Branham, who told him he had gotten away with a bag of marijuana. He said he told Branham to come in to police headquarters and talk to him about it. He said he told him if he did not "then I'll take out a warrant before I go home." He said he did file charges when Branham did not show up. Branham was on the run until early June.
Investigator Weary said after talking with Branham and smelling marijuana in the residence, he began to wonder himself if it was "a drug deal gone bad." He said he went to the victims and "read them the riot act." He said they admitted they had been smoking marijuana and that Branham had taken a bag of it. But they said no one was selling drugs in the residence; it was just "recreational use."
He said he concluded that it was a robbery and not a drug deal.
The detective said Ms. Tillery, after the incident, was "distraught, upset and angry. She was still scared."