0

Cellmate, girlfriend testify at murder trial

By Ed Brock

The defense attorney of one of two men on trial in a double homicide case said his client was caught in an "unholy trinity" of drugs, a woman and guns.

The woman, 41-year-old Tina Davidson, testified at the trial of 36-year-old Kenneth Ray Hilton and 38-year-old David Hendrix of Riverdale on Wednesday. Davidson, who dated both men at separate times, said Hendrix was begging her to come back on the day of the killings and had accused her of carrying the child of one of the victims.

And another witness called to testify Wednesday was Hendrix's former cellmate who said Hendrix confessed the crime to him. Hendrix and Hilton are charged with murder in connection with the September 2003 killings of Rozier's husband Rodney Rozier and 48-year-old Algernon Sedrick Nash of Atlanta.

Police say Rozier and Nash were killed in Hendrix's home on West Fayetteville Road near Riverdale. They were then placed into Nash's Cadillac and driven to a spot on Sullivan Road near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport where the car was set on fire.

Davidson said in her testimony that she had been living with Hendrix for about four months before leaving him to go back to Hilton, with whom she had had a previous relationship. On Sept. 5, 2003 Hendrix was at the house on Lyle Drive where she was living with Hilton and some other people.

"He kept asking me if I was coming back to him," Davidson said.

Davidson also said she was friends with Rozier and his wife. She was also pregnant with Hendrix's baby at the time of the killings.

"(Hendrix) said if I wasn't going to come back to him he didn't want anything to do with the baby," Davidson said, adding that Hendricks also said he thought Rozier had fathered the baby.

Hendrix left but later returned and asked Hilton to go with him for a ride, Davidson said. Davidson and her son Bryan Blackburn testified that both men went outside, then Hilton came back inside and grabbed a kitchen knife before leaving again. Davidson and Blackburn said they told Hilton not to go.

Early on the morning after the killings Hendrix and Hilton returned to the Lyle Drive house, Hilton "moving fast" through the house, Blackburn said. Hendrix followed him in and began shouting for Davidson to wake up.

"He told her he wanted her to come see what he had done," Blackburn said. "He wanted her to see the mural he had made for her."

Police and prosecutors claim the killings took place in the living room of Hendrix's house on West Fayetteville Road. Tony Lima, a crime scene investigator with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, showed the jury pictures of blood stains on the living room carpet, a wall and sofa. He also said there were shotgun pellets and possible pieces of flesh in the ceiling of the living room and possible blood stains in the back yard.

Lima said they found discharged shotgun shells in the house as well. Both Rozier and Nash suffered possible gunshot injuries to their heads.

Blackburn also testified that at one point when he was still living with Hendrix but after Davidson had moved in with Hilton, Hendrix had gone on a drug binge and pointed a sawed-off shotgun at him.

Under cross examination by Hendrix's attorney William Turner, Blackburn said he had also been using crack cocaine and methamphetamine at the time of that incident and that he did not report it to the police.

In his opening statement Hilton's attorney Joseph Roberto had made the reference to the "unholy trinity" and later said they were all brought together by the "angel of death." That phrase was found inscribed on a shotgun stock found in Hendrix's home and Blackburn identified the stock as belonging to a 12-gauge single barrel shotgun that was one of two kept in Hendrix's home.

While the actual murder weapon has not been recovered, the testimony of one of the last witnesses called on Wednesday gave a clue to what may have happened to it. Donald Bennett said he shared a cell with Hendrix last year and Hendrix talked incessantly about his case.

Hendrix said he had had a shotgun melted down, that he had spread cat littler box filler on the blood stains to soak them up and then, as Bennett was leaving, Hendrix confessed to him.

"On my release he told me that he shot the victims," Bennett said.

Bennett also said that Hendrix gave him some of the discovery evidence in his case for safe keeping. Turner hit on Bennett's past, calling him a thief and saying he had only brought the information to police 17 days after his release because he wanted to take possession of Hendrix's truck which he had bought for $20 while the two were in jail.

Also in cross examination Roberto and Turner questioned Lima's work in the case.

Lima said that both victims were close to each other when they were shot and that Nash was shot a second time at "close range" as he lay on the ground.

Field tests showed that "suspected" blood was actually blood, he said, but there are no field tests to confirm the "suspected" bone and tissue found on the ceiling and in the kitchen.

Having investigated more than 150 homicide cases involving firearms, Lima said that bone and tissue fragments were "consistent" with those of humans.

Turner pressed Lima on the issue of the blood and what could and could not be determine by the field tests.

"You could tell that it was blood out there, but you couldn't tell whose blood or if it was human or an animal," Lima said.

Testimony in the trial is expected to continue today.

Staff writer Greg Gelpi contributed to this article.