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Emotional witness describes dying shooting victim

JONESBORO — Mildred Smith cried as she testified Friday morning about comforting a dying man she’d just met hours before he was shot at an April 2012 birthday party.

Smith took the stand as a state witness in the case against Mashawn Anthonio Gresham, 28, of Riverdale; Kenneth Todd Gresham, 29, of Conley; and Kenneth Lamar Gresham, 27, of Atlanta.

They are charged with multiple murder, aggravated assault and weapons violations in barber John “Dred” Goodrum’s death. The three defendants are related to each other.

Under direct examination by Clayton County Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Katie Powers, Smith said Goodrum had come outside to get a plate of chicken from the grill. Then shots rang out.

“I saw him laying on the ground and I tried to make sure he was OK,” said Smith of Goodrum. “I was trying to keep him conscious, tried to talk to him, keep him alive, praying over him. I was trying to make sure he was OK.”

Smith said Goodrum lost consciousness twice.

“The last time he came around, it was when the paramedics got there,” she said. He hopped up, swinging and I told him to lay down and let the paramedics help him.”

Smith said the paramedics put him on a stretcher and covered him up to his chest with a sheet.

“His arm fell out from under the sheet and I said, ‘He’s just passed, y’all,’” she said.

Under cross-examination by Kenneth Lamar Gresham’s attorney, Gerald Griggs, Smith added that a friend of hers tried CPR on Goodrum while she held and rubbed his hand.

The party’s host, Demetrius Brown, testified before Smith and also described Goodrum being shot.

“He was eating some chicken,” said Brown. “I saw the chicken drop, I saw the plate drop and I saw him drop. I saw Dred go down and I was shocked. I was stuck in the moment. I didn’t move. I couldn’t believe it was happening at my house.”

Both witnesses testified they were afraid to tell the police anything they saw out of fear of retaliation. In fact, Smith testified that when court broke for lunch Wednesday, supporters of the defendants made comments and gestures toward her in the hallway that scared her and made her feel uncomfortable.

“Even after those comments and gestures were made, you returned here to tell the truth about what you saw, right?” said Powers.

“Yes, I did,” said Smith.

Goodrum was apparently caught in the crossfire between the defendants and Keyon Butler. Clayton County police said there was bad blood between Butler and Kenneth Todd Gresham, known as “KD,” which erupted at the party.

Butler was shot in the hand but survived. Clayton County police Detective John Gosart testified in June 2012 that Butler was not charged because it was determined he fired in self-defense.

Goodrum, who spent most of the party inside the house giving haircuts, had stepped outside only to get chicken off the grill when he was shot, said Gosart.

“He was hit in the back and the bullet went into the right side of his back and exited the right side of his chest,” he said. “He died at Grady.”

Gosart said in June 2012 that Goodrum’s body was found in the street behind Butler.

Because the bullet exited Goodrum’s body, Gosart said there is no projectile to compare to and identify the gun used to kill him.

“I found three different brands of .40-caliber shells in two different locations at the scene,” he said. “The bullet that killed Goodrum was not found.”

It took attorneys a near-unprecedented two full days to seat a panel of 12 plus alternates to hear the case. Opening statements were made and testimony began Thursday morning.

The trial is expected to continue into next week.