Eyewitnesses challenged at Moore murder trial
A witness for the state testified Tuesday that he provided the gun that Darnell "Boo-Boo" Moore used to kill Namdi Smart on Lake Street in Norwich on Aug. 26, 2010.
Moore's attorney, Norman A. Pattis, asked 21-year-old Samuel Gomez on cross-examination whether he was testifying in exchange for a good deal from the state on his charges of illegal gun possession and hindering prosecution. Pattis then wondered whether Gomez was testifying because he had found God.
And so it went, on the second day of Moore's murder trial in Superior Court in Norwich. Prosecutor David J. Smith called eyewitnesses to the shooting to the witness stand to tell their stories. Pattis attempted to discredit them on cross-examination.
If a witness had a crack cocaine problem, the jury heard about it. If she said one thing in her statement to police and something different on the witness stand, Pattis pounced. He ridiculed one witness who said she recognized Moore by his "sharp teeth" and reduced her to tears with relentless questions about her daughter after she insisted the girl had attended middle school with Moore.
Moore, 23, is accused of shooting Smart, 31, in the head after the two had a dispute earlier in the night as a group of people stood around on the street drinking and smoking drugs.
Gomez, of New London, testified that he got a call from "Soda Pop," who is identified in court documents as Tjamel Hendrickson, saying that "he needed me out in Norwich." He said he met Hendrickson and Moore on Spaulding Street and gave Moore a .45-caliber pistol.
Hendrickson, who is accused of carrying out a robbery with Moore that night, is expected to invoke his right to remain silent with respect to Moore's case, according to court testimony.
In terms of receiving any favors in exchange for his testimony, Gomez testified that nobody has promised him anything, but he is "hoping for the best." His own case is pending in the same court as Moore's case. His attorney, Peter Catania, was in the courtroom during his testimony.
Kimberly Harris, who lived on Spaulding Street, said she encountered Moore and Hendrickson on the street before the shooting. Walking past her, he uttered an obscenity about Norwich people and she echoed it, she testified. She said Moore was wearing a red shirt with a tear in it.
On cross-examination, she admitted she was standing near Smart when he was killed and that she couldn't identify the shooter, who was wearing a dark-colored shirt. Questioned at length about the birth names and street names of the people in the group, Harris insisted she knew them only by their street names, even though her statement to police also contained their birth names.
"Are you saying there are things in your statement that you don't know are true or false?" Pattis asked.
"Yes," she responded.
Roslyn Hill testified that she saw the two men standing "chest to chest" on the porch at 35 Lake St. and later witnessed the shooting. She said Smart ripped the red shirt that Moore was wearing and that as Moore left, he told Smart he would be back and made a shooting gesture with his fingers.
She said she could tell there was going to be trouble and went inside the apartment and started packing to leave. She said she looked out the window about 10:30 p.m. and saw Moore return.
"What happened next?" asked Smith, the prosecutor.
"He shot Dee," Hill responded. She went outside, where people were yelling, and saw a 15-year-old boy take a gun from Smart as he lay on the sidewalk bleeding.
"He kind of shifted Dee around and took the gun from underneath him," Hill testified. Police later recovered the gun from the boy's home at 35 Boswell Ave., according to earlier testimony.
The state will continue calling witnesses when the trial resumes Wednesday.