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Testimony begins in Augusta murder trial

Monday, Aug 12, 2013 7:23 PM
Last updated 10:05 PM
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On the 911 recording played for the jury Monday, Danielle Willingham became more and more frantic as he cried out “Javares,” “Javares.” In a moaning voice he told the operator “Oh God, oh. My brother’s dead.”

The man accused of wounding Willingham and shooting 32-year-old Javares Alston to death, Dequan S. Holmes, listened to the tape along with the jury and witnesses.

Holmes, 18, has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, aggravated assault and weapon violations in the July 28, 2012, fatal home invasion.

Willingham and his friend, whom he called his brother, had moved to Augusta from Co­lum­bia not long before they were shot. Willingham came for a job and Alston was still looking for one while living with Willingham at a Windsor Spring Road trailer park.

Willingham had seen Holmes in the trailer park a few times before the night he was shot, and he knew Alston had socialized with him in the past, Willingham testified Monday. He didn’t know the young man’s name, but after the shooting, Willingham told investigators that the shooter’s number was on the cellphone he let Alston use. He later picked Holmes out of a photo lineup.

Other witnesses placed Holmes at the scene that night, including a friend Holmes called for a ride away from the trailer park, District Attorney Ashley Wright said in her opening statement.

Defense attorney Peter John­son said the shooting was in self-defense. Alston had been robbed earlier that day and when he answered the door, he held a knife poised to strike and Holmes fired blindly in a panic, Johnson said.

Willingham testified that he was standing behind an unarmed Alston when his friend opened the door. He said Holmes pulled a gun from his pocket and kept shooting until it was empty.


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