AIKEN - One of four men accused of gunning down two newspaper carriers late last year went on trial in Aiken County Court on Tuesday.
Several witnesses testified that although they did not see Cornell Tyler shoot at Joe Brewer or Debra Dorch, they heard gunfire early on the morning of Nov. 27, 2005.
Ms. Dorch was killed on her second day on the job delivering newspapers for The Aiken Standard after she missed a paper box on Union Academy Road in Springfield, setting off a deadly chain of events, according to authorities.
On Tuesday, 2nd Judicial Circuit Deputy Solicitor Bill Weeks called witnesses who heard or saw part of what happened that day, which began when Ms. Dorch backed up to deliver the missed paper and ended with a wreck more than two miles away.
Authorities speculated that the two carriers were mistaken for rival drug dealers.
Cornell Tyler was charged with murder, assault with intent to kill and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime.
Four other men also are facing charges in connection with the shooting:
- Tremaine Tyler, Cornell Tyler's brother, was charged with two counts of assault with intent to kill;
- Edward Walker with murder, assault with intent to kill and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime;
- Willie Ware III with murder and assault with intent to kill;
- And John Miles, who was charged with accessory after the fact and misprison of a felony, accused of helping get rid of the weapons and hide the Tyler brothers.
Mr. Brewer, who was injured in the attack, testified that a man he could not identify approached the truck he and Ms. Dorch were in and tried to get in as they were stopped.
According to his testimony, Ms. Dorch sped off, and the carriers were shot at and chased down the road. The men chasing them in another car shot him in the side first, then Ms. Dorch.
Mr. Brewer was then shot in the arm, and then the truck crashed in a field.
Mr. Brewer crawled from the wreckage and ended up at a nearby home, where a neighbor called 911.
An autopsy found that Ms. Dorch, 36, died from a gunshot wound to the heart.
Kendall Seawright, a lifelong friend of most of the people who are facing charges, testified Tuesday that he was there the night the shooting happened but did not participate.
He said Tremaine Tyler shot at the truck after it had stopped in the road, and three of the men - Cornell Tyler, Edward Walker and Willie Ware - chased after it.
He did not go, he said, and when the three returned, he asked Mr. Ware to drive him home.
"I heard somebody say, 'Clean up,' and I immediately jumped in the car and we drove off," he said.
Neighbors also testified to hearing the gunshots, including Aiken Standard subscriber Frontis Williams Sr., who lives next door to the mobile home the Tyler brothers shared.
Reach Sandi Martin at (803) 648-1395, ext. 111, or email@example.com.