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Jurors hear emotional jail call from suspect

By Kathy Jefcoats

kjefcoats@news-daily.com

JONESBORO — Clayton County jurors heard an emotional Joseph Harris tell a friend during a phone call that he knew he'd messed up and was about to be charged with murder.

Harris made the collect call to Terrence Tinch, 24, after being locked up last year in connection with a home invasion that ended in the shooting death of David "Ruck" Rucker. Harris and co-defendant Denirio "D-Red" Cunningham are on trial this week on murder and other felonies in Rucker's June 14, 2012, death.

Prosecutors played a recording of the call in court Wednesday as Tinch sat on the witness stand. Tinch grew emotional, listening to the call during which he and Harris could be heard crying.

"These folks know what happened, bro," said Harris on the recording. "I think Keith told. I done (expletive deleted) up."

Harris was referring to Keith Alexander, another friend who testified Tuesday to driving the pair to Rucker's apartment the night of the shooting. Cunningham is also charged with trying to solicit someone to kill Alexander.

After Tinch testified, Jasmine Kenyatta Williams, 20, of Kankakee, Ill., took the stand. Williams was charged with Cunningham in the attempted solicitation case. She testified that she and Cunningham were romantically involved and that she still cares about him.

Prosecutors played a recording of the phone call from the Clayton County Jail where Cunningham allegedly discusses having Alexander killed. Williams, who has been locked up in the same jail since her arrest in October, walked free after her testimony. Her attorney, Karlyn Skall, said during a break in the trial that Williams plans to return to Illinois.

"If they are acquitted and she's still here, she'll be dead," said Skall.

Jurors also heard from a former inmate, Jeremy Williams, who testified that Cunningham talked about Rucker's death.

"He said he accidentally shot somebody," said Jeremy Williams. "He said he used a .40-caliber or .45-caliber and that the shell casing ended up in his hoodie. He found it when he took off his clothes."

A crime scene investigator earlier testified that no shell casings were found at the Rucker home.

Williams said Cunningham also talked about a second home invasion robbery and sexual assault that Williams took personally. Williams said the alleged victim was known to him only as "Yellow Boy."

"He broke in on Yellow Boy and Yellow Boy's girlfriend had a gun," Williams testified. "He drew down on her and told her, 'You know what time it is.' She was only wearing a shirt and bent over, expecting that he wanted to (rape) her, but he only wanted oral sex."

Williams said Cunningham told him he took guns, money and two identification cards from the home when he left. The alleged assault upset Williams, he said.

"I heard that he was planning to rob my sister's apartment," said Williams. "I was just thinking how that could've been her. The robbery didn't bother me, the sexual part did. That's when I got mad and wrote a postcard in December about the things he'd told me."

Defense attorneys elicited from him that Williams has had a troubled life.

"I've been suicidal and had mental health issues since I was 10," said Williams, who acknowledged to being medicated behind bars.