As the trial of Raymond Faunteroy came to a close Friday, prosecutors argued that the testimony of multiple eyewitnesses proves that Faunteroy shot and killed Derrick Ragland in an alley on Dec. 19, 2011. Even if some of those witnesses’ statements seem questionable.
“I didn’t choose the witnesses,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenn Kirshner said during closing arguments, “but Faunteroy did when he shot Ragland.”
Faunteroy is charged with first-degree murder while armed and two weapons charges in connection with Ragland’s death. Prosecutors say that Faunteroy wanted revenge for being robbed by Ragland, so he waited with a pistol for Ragland and his friends, then shot Ragland seven times.
But Billy Ponds, Faunteroy’s defense attorney, said many of the witnesses who implicate his client lack credibility, and jurors should disregard each of their testimonies.
Sean Johnson, a friend of Ragland’s, testified that he and his friends were on their way to a basketball game from his house when the shooter opened fire. As he ran from the gunfire that night, he turned and saw the shooter wearing a black puffy coat and a ski mask, Johnson said.
Johnson told jurors there was no animosity between any of the friends as far as he could tell. He said Gregory Holland, also Ragland’s friend, texted him twice and called him once trying to find out when Johnson and his friends were leaving.
Ponds suggested in his closing arguments that Holland’s texts could be an indication Holland was involved in the shooting, not Faunteroy.
Johnson testified that the texts from Holland were not unusual but that Holland appeared “sad” and “different” after the shooting.
Holland told jurors that he left Johnson’s house early with a friend he called Ant, and Gerard, the other victim of the robbery Derrick planned. Later that night, Holland said he saw a man in a blue hoodie standing in the alley where the shooting took place who he believes was Faunteroy based on the man’s complexion.
Ragland’s cousin Aaron Ragland testified that he was in the alley the night of the shooting as well, and could tell the shooter was Faunteroy based on his light-colored eyes.
During cross examination, Ponds pointed out Aaron Ragland has a detached retina and wears glasses. However, on the night of the shooting, Aaron said he was not wearing his glasses and had smoked marijuana.
Reynardo Taylor, a friend of Faunteroy, said Faunteroy told him and his girlfriend that he killed a boy in the area and left the gun he used at the scene shortly after Derrick’s death.
He said Faunteroy tried to give him money if Taylor recanted his statment about Faunteroy’s confession.
However, Taylor also said he drank more than 24 ounces of Corona and smoked synthetic marijuana that night. Ponds said a plea deal, which motivated Taylor to testify, should make the jury question he accuracy of his testimony.
“He had about 40 years of motive to lie,” Ponds said during his closing arguments, explaining the difference between the maximum sentence Taylor faced and the one he received as a result of the deal.
In addition to testimony, the prosecution presented on DNA evidence from a pair of gloves found near the scene, cell phone tower information that placed Faunteroy near the alley at the time of the murder and ballistics evidence to argue Faunteroy’s involvement in the shooting.
The DNA evidence found on the gloves showed a mixture of at least two people, and an examiner was unable to rule out Faunteroy as a contributor.
Ponds told jurors it wouldn’t have been possible for Faunteroy to wear gloves at the time of the murder because of a bandage he wrapped around his hand after being shot during the robbery, which multiple witnesses said he was wearing at the time. He added that DNA found on the gloves was not conclusively matched to Faunteroy.
The jury will resume deliberations on Monday.