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In cross-examination, Prophet says he didn't 'make up' story about how W.Va. mother, son died

Proscecutor questions Lorton, Va., man accused of killing Bunker Hill woman and 3-year-old child about similarities between his testimony and a novel he wrote in 2008

July 13, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com
  • Antonio Prophet
Antonio Prophet

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The man on trial for the deaths of Angela Devonshire and her 3-year-old son testified Friday in Berkeley County Circuit Court that his account of how two armed men caused their deaths in June 2010 was not a work of fiction like a book he wrote.

Antonio Prophet, 36, of Lorton, Va., was indicted on two counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree arson in the deaths of Devonshire, 22, of Bunker Hill, W.Va., and her son, Andre White.

Police allege Prophet set Devonshire’s apartment at 69 Sydneys Way off Sam Mason Road on fire after she and her son died the morning of June 6, 2010.

When questioned Friday by Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely, Prophet admitted he didn’t report the fire or the deaths to police and didn’t share the account of how Devonshire and her son were supposedly killed until he took the witness stand Thursday in his own defense.

Prophet testified Thursday that he was staying overnight with Devonshire, who he was dating, and her sons, Andre and Daronte, when two armed men came to the apartment in the early-morning hours.

“I didn’t make up any story, ma’am,” Prophet told Games-Neely twice just before leaving the witness stand after testifying for more than two hours Friday.

The jury is expected is expected hear instructions Monday morning from 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Christopher C. Wilkes and closing arguments from the attorneys handling the two-year-old case before being sequestered to deliberate.

On Friday, Games-Neely repeatedly questioned Prophet about his book, “Enter the Fire: Seven Days in the Life,” citing a storyline that included instances of homicide and drug dealing that appear similar to aspects of the Devonshire case.

Prophet disputed certain “interpretations” of his book by Games-Neely, but acknowledged the book’s two main characters “happen” to be involved in the drug culture and that the novel he published in 2008 also includes a character whose throat is cut and another character who is trying to buy crack cocaine.

State Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Nabila Haikal testified Wednesday that she found a cut in Devonshire’s throat and that the paleness of Devonshire’s internal organs indicated she bled significantly from the injury.

Prophet testified this week that he met Devonshire in mid-May 2010 in the Capital Heights area of Martinsburg and at the time she was looking for drugs.

When they met, Prophet said Devonshire told him that she had a son (Andre) whose middle name was Antonio “and that got the ball rolling.”

Prophet said Devonshire first told him the men who showed up at the apartment in the early morning of June 6 were associated with her children’s father, but then indicated that she met one of them through Joseph Medina.

Prophet said one of men, who Devonshire knew as Boogie, slit her throat and killed her son while he was ordered at gunpoint to open the three-bay garage directly below her second-floor apartment. Prophet said the residence was set on fire after he managed to escape and hide in a nearby wooded area.

Because of a “beef” he had with Medina on June 3, Prophet testified he immediately became convinced that Medina had sent the men to Devonshire’s apartment to rob them. The men initially showed up about 12:30 a.m., but quickly left before returning more than two hours later, according to Prophet’s testimony.

Prophet testified Friday that he believed the men came to the apartment due to a dispute he had with Medina over a laptop computer. Prophet also said the men told him Devonshire owed a drug debt and later demanded the laptop, which he claimed Medina wanted him to steal.

Medina testified Friday that Prophet stole the computer from the home of a woman June 3.

Medina said he didn’t report that Prophet stole the computer because there were warrants for his arrest for violation of probation at the time. Medina, who is incarcerated in an unrelated case, testified that he thought the woman’s mother was going to report the computer stolen after she told him not to worry about it.

Both men acknowledged they threatened each other in the dispute and Prophet reported Medina’s threat to him anonymously to police June 3, according to his testimony and records of his calls entered as evidence in the trial.

Prophet testified he believed Medina’s threat of violence included an intent to harm those around him, including Devonshire. He also claimed Medina had gone with him one time to Devonshire’s home, but Medina testified Friday he didn’t know where Devonshire lived.

While he reported the threat to authorities, Prophet admitted he didn’t tell police or her family that Devonshire was a target. He said he made the call anonymously because he didn’t want to be labeled “a snitch.” Prophet said it is frowned upon in his “culture” to have any dealings with police and that he never called police before. 

Games-Neely questioned why he didn’t report Devonshire’s death or tell her family what happened, suggesting at one point that Prophet told the jury “a story” and not what really happened.

Prophet acknowledged he sent text messages to another woman asking her if she wanted company the morning of June 5, but maintained he was not sexually involved with any other female while he was seeing Devonshire.

“I was growing very fond of her,” Prophet said.

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