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Trial begins in Martinsburg 'execution' slaying

'No choir boys in this case,' says prosecutor

'No choir boys in this case,' says prosecutor

November 28, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. ? The murder of Donald "Dee" Redman in the early-morning hours of Oct. 27, 2005, was an "execution based on disrespect" in the illicit business of crack cocaine distribution in Martinsburg, jurors in the trial of the man accused of killing Redman were told Tuesday, said Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela J. Games-Neely.

"There are no choir boys in this case," Games-Neely told the jury of five women and seven men selected Tuesday morning to decide the state's case against John J. Grant.

Grant, 23, aka Butter, was indicted in October 2006 on one count of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Redman, 29, at a duplex home at 515-517 Third St.

His trial continues today with the state's presentation of evidence. On Tuesday, two police officers testified about their crime scene work and explained exactly how Redman's body was discovered after it apparently was dragged from 517 Third St. to an enclosed back porch attached to 515 Third St.

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Aside from witnesses to the shooting, Games-Neely told jurors they would be presented letters that Grant wrote from Eastern Regional Jail that intend to intimidate witnesses to change their stories about what happened.

Defense attorney says witnesses aren't credible

In his opening statements, defense attorney B. Craig Manford told jurors that the state's presentation of evidence implicating his client would be weakened by the credibility of witnesses, including Wayne "Dougie" Derflinger, who testified Tuesday that he saw Grant shoot Redman.

Manford vigorously challenged Derflinger in cross-examination, questioning why statements given to police in 2005 within hours after Redman was killed appeared to conflict with his testimony Tuesday.

"I was shook up,' Derflinger said repeatedly.

Games-Neely said her presentation of evidence would show that Redman was shot because of money he owed for drugs that were fronted to him to sell.

Derflinger testified that Redman, on the night he died, unexpectedly came to his home at 517 Third St., for drugs.

Grant and a man only known to Derflinger and police as Prince, also of New York, were already there, Derflinger said.

Derflinger testified that Redman had been selling drugs for Prince and they began to argue about "the money deal" while Grant was standing next to him. Redman had "smoked" the drugs Prince had fronted him, Derflinger said.

Redman was shot in the head by Grant after Prince handed him a gun, Derflinger testified. Prince then told other individuals in the home who were using drugs not to report the shooting to police or the same thing would happen to them, Derflinger said.

Conflicting testimony

"I told everybody to leave, to get out," Derflinger said of the other people who were using drugs at this house that night.

Redman was dragged from the home by his feet after Derflinger said he "panicked" and wanted Redman's body taken out of his house.

The description of how Redman was dragged out appeared to conflict with testimony on Tuesday by now-retired Martinsburg Police Department patrol Sgt. Shannon L. Armel, who said it appeared Redman had been dragged across the backyard by his upper torso, not his feet.

While photographs were being shown to the jury, Armel said he reached that conclusion after noting the white socks on Redman's feet were "rolled up" and soiled in the same bunched area.

Witness testifies he was high at the time

Derflinger acknowledged a 10-year addiction to crack cocaine and that he had been convicted on multiple charges, but insisted he was telling the truth about the shooting. He refuted the accuracy of statements he gave to Martinsburg Police Department Detective Sgt. G.B. Swartwood that Manford cited as evidence he didn't actually see what happened.

"I'm doin' real good now," Derflinger said.

At the time of Redman's death, Derflinger admitted to Manford that he told police that he was high on crack cocaine and was "glazin." The term refers to a substantial level of intoxication and the appearance of a user's eyes.

Derflinger testified after Redman was dragged out, he cleaned up a pool of blood and discarded a rag in the basement. Manford also challenged that account, noting his statement to police was different.

Of the 60 people summoned for the trial, all but two appeared in court to serve and presiding judge Gray Silver III said he would handle the no-shows at a later time. Among the panel of 20 prospective jurors announced by a deputy circuit clerk at 9:10 a.m. was Berkeley County Commissioner Ronald K. Collins. The commissioner was the 14th of 20 prospective jurors randomly chosen from the jury pool, but was ultimately struck from the panel. The jurors chosen were seated about 11:45 a.m.

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