Photo by Kathy Jefcoats
(From left) Defense attorneys Deborah Leslie and Morris Fair with defendant Christopher Bradshaw and defense investigator Cathy Crawford in court Tuesday.
By Kathy Jefcoats
JONESBORO — A co-defendant in a double murder case dropped his head into his cuffed hands Tuesday as he testified about seeing his friend shot in the head during a botched drug deal.
Michael Lewis Boykin Jr., 19, took the stand as the state’s first witness in the case against Christopher Bradshaw, 27. Boykin’s case will be prosecuted later. Boykin became emotional as he recalled seeing Devonta Emon Stembridge, 18, shot in the back of the head.
“I saw his face light up,” said Boykin. “I heard him take his last breath.”
Clayton County Deputy Assistant District Attorney Katie Powers asked if he called for help for the man he called “Mohawk.”
“No,” said Boykin. “I ran. I was scared.”
Within seconds, Boykin said he heard more shots as he ran. Stembridge’s passenger, Dion Brice, was shot twice. Brice was 16.
Boykin testified that the man who fired the shots was running behind him as he ran home. He said Bradshaw followed him into his home and upstairs to his bedroom. Boykin’s mother was in the living room watching television, he said.
“I was panicked,” said Boykin. “Bradshaw was sitting on the bed, staring. He said, ‘I just bodied them.’ I kept asking him, ‘Why?’ but he never answered.”
Boykin said Bradshaw took a shower and dressed in the same clothes he wore during the shooting — minus the white T-shirt and white cap he left at the scene. Boykin said Bradshaw’s shorts were covered in blood and gore.
“I told him he had brains on his pants,” said Boykin. “He just wiped it off.”
Boykin testified that he set up a deal for Bradshaw to buy a pound of marijuana from Stembridge and Brice for $950. Boykin said Bradshaw got in the back seat of the Chevrolet Impala the two men were in while Boykin stood outside the car, texting a woman.
“I heard Bradshaw say, ‘It ain’t heavy enough, it don’t feel right,’ ” said Boykin. “He got his keys and ripped the package open and hay started popping out. I told them, ‘Hey, these are my folks, this was supposed to go good.’ Bradshaw was upset and pulled out a gun. He shot Mohawk in the back of the head.”
Boykin said he ran toward home and heard multiple shots. Police said Bradshaw fired twice into Brice. The car, which was still running, lunged forward until it hit a carport post. Police said that’s when Bradshaw got out and ran behind Boykin.
Boykin admitted he lied to police about what happened and got his mother and sister to go along with his story. He said Bradshaw threatened him.
“He told me if I told anyone, he’d kill me and he knew where my momma lived,” testified Boykin. “I lied to police because I didn’t want anything to happen to my mom.”
Boykin eventually confessed, he said, and identified Bradshaw as the shooter.
Under cross-examination by one of Bradshaw’s defense attorneys, Morris Fair, Boykin insisted he didn’t turn state’s evidence in exchange for leniency and he has no deal with the district attorney’s office. Boykin, who is being held in the Clayton County Jail, faces the same charges as Bradshaw.
Tuesday morning’s other witnesses were law enforcement personnel who were either first on the scene or who collected evidence. Experts with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are expected to testify that DNA on items found at the scene matched Bradshaw’s DNA.