Wayne Eggins Jr.’s good deed nearly killed him. He is now partially paralyzed, in constant pain and unable to have a normal life, but, as he testified Monday at the trial of the man accused of shooting him, “I’m alive.”
Stanley L. Fields, 20, has pleaded not guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to charges of aggravated assault, two counts of criminal attempt to commit burglary and a weapon violation.
Eggins, the first witness to testify, told the jury what happened just after midnight Feb. 18, 2011, when he returned to his Skinner Mill Road apartment complex after finishing work as a tow truck driver.
Eggins was about to put his key in the door when he noticed a man standing to the side of the building. The stranger slipped around back, and Eggins went to investigate.
Through his neighbor’s window, he saw a man standing in the kitchen. Eggins knew his neighbor was working.
Words were exchanged, then blows, then Eggins got the man in a headlock.
He pulled his cellphone and called 911 and started dragging the man to the
front of the building where there were lights, Eggins testified.
Suddenly Eggins felt a blow to the back of his head. As his knees buckled and he was falling, Eggins said, he looked up and saw a muzzle flash.
“I couldn’t hear. I thought I was dead,” he said. He saw more muzzle flashes.
“I remember my wife coming downstairs … she was two months pregnant … I didn’t want her to see me like that,” Eggins said.
The bullet had ripped off his jaw before exiting near the top of his head.
“In a split second, my life changed,” Eggins said.
Sheriff’s investigators traced the vehicle the assailants were seen leaving in to Aaron Bey, 19. They arrested Bey and Fields, both of whom gave incriminating statements.
Bey pleaded guilty in June to all charges and received a sentence of 11 years in prison followed by 24 years on probation.