Defendant ordered shooting, witness says

Irving Folston, 22, is the second man charged in the 2008 shooting death of Antonio President.

For the second time, Steven Floyd Smith testified Tuesday that he heard Irving Folston order the death of Antonio President just minutes before President was killed.

In September, Smith took the stand in the trial of Levaughn Marcel Sloans, who was found guilty of shooting President outside Sonny's Package Store at the corner of Wheeless and Milledgeville roads on May 1, 2008. Sloans was sentenced to life in prison plus 35 years.

On Tuesday, Smith testified that Sloans' co-defendant, Folston, who is on trial this week, gave Sloans a gun and ordered him to shoot President.

"What I heard was 'G' tell 'Black,' 'you need to go handle it. Handle it now,' " said Smith, who referred to Folston and Sloans, respectively, by their street names. "He wasn't asking him. He was telling him to go."

Smith was at the Sibley Road apartment to pay Sloans for cocaine he picked up the day before. After he left the apartment, Smith said, he was driving by the package store when he heard the gunshots and saw people scatter.

The jury also heard from several Richmond County sheriff's investigators, including Capt. Scott Peebles, who was present when prosecutor Rex Myers played a tape of Folston's interview with investigators.

Folston, who was not yet under arrest for the crime, could be heard describing to police how President had robbed him several months before the slaying. Prosecutors have since claimed that the robbery was Folston's motive for wanting President dead.

On the day of the robbery, Folston told investigators that President had ordered a half-gram of "work," slang for cocaine, and that as Folston began weighing out the drug, President robbed him of $1,000 and about a gram of cocaine.

He denied feeling vengeful about the robbery, suggesting that he was planning to leave the area anyway because he felt "outnumbered" and because after the robbery his business of selling cocaine had dried up.

"It never got back going like it was then," Folston said on the taped interview. "I were hurting."