Dallas Beck takes the stand in his defense Wednesday. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)
JONESBORO — Dallas Jarvis Beck told a Clayton County jury Wednesday that he shot and killed an unarmed friend in defense of his girlfriend, who may have ignited the confrontation.
Beck is charged with murder and other felonies in the August 2012 shooting death of Corey “Killer” Liverpool. At press time Thursday, jurors were deliberating the case.
Beck said he feared Liverpool and re-enacted the moments leading to the shooting for the jury with Clayton County Executive District Attorney Kathryn Powers standing in for Liverpool.
“I pulled out my firearm with my finger on the trigger,” said Beck, showing less than a foot between him and Powers. “I was saying, ‘I wish you would,’ but pulled the trigger before I finished saying that.”
Other witnesses testified to hearing Beck say, “Don’t you know I’ll shoot you?”
Beck said he shot Liverpool in the eye. The autopsy showed the weapon was fired at close range. After the shooting, Beck testified to making a parting remark although he disagreed it was aimed at the man dying on the ground.
“I said, ‘I told you so,’” he admitted. “But I was telling my girl.”
His girl is Lakeya Burroughs, 24. The two lived together at a Riverdale apartment with her two sons, who were 7 and 5 at the time of the shooting. Each defendant testified they are still a couple.
She is also charged with simple battery and disorderly conduct in connection with Liverpool’s death but agreed to waive her right to remain silent to testify for Beck.
Burroughs detailed a public physical confrontation with Liverpool that had the potential to humiliate him but she said he just seemed “amused.” The argument apparently took place in front of her children.
“Me and Killer chest-bumped but I don’t remember who started it,” she said. “We were confrontational therefore I don’t remember who started it.”
Burroughs said she may have stuck her finger in his face but didn’t punch him.
“I grabbed his genitals and asked him if he was a (expletive deleted) or a (expletive deleted),” she testified. “And I called him a bitch.”
Burroughs said Liverpool thought it was funny.
“He said he had a (expletive deleted), it was a dirty (expletive deleted) but he had one,” she said. “Then I spit on him. He didn’t hit me, he was amused.”
Burroughs went to high school with Liverpool and remained friends with him into adulthood, she said. He was known to carry weapons and when conflict arose between Liverpool and the couple — all of whom lived in the same complex — both said they feared him.
In the minutes leading up to the shooting, Burroughs said she was in the apartment with Beck when her sons came running in, telling her “Uncle Killer” was coming over and wanted to talk to her. She said she was already irate because someone had thrown a brick through her sons’ bedroom window and police had just left.
It turned out that the brick incident was unrelated to Liverpool and was apparently thrown by another child in the complex. But Burroughs didn’t know that at the time and tempers were high, she said.
“The boys ran in the house and hid under the bed, they were scared,” said Burroughs. “I grabbed Dallas’ gun because I had an unexpected guest I thought was supposed to kill me and my kids were scared.”
When Burroughs walked into the living room, gun in hand, she said Beck took it from her and told Liverpool to just go home.
“I said that I wanted to hear what he had to say,” she said. “So we went outside to talk.”
Beck testified to putting the gun inside his waistband and covering it with his shirt and walking outside, too. Beck, who was serving First Offender probation at the time of the shooting, was not legally entitled to possess, own or carry a firearm.
But he testified that he felt threatened days before at the school bus stop when Liverpool reportedly looked at him and pulled his own gun from his waistband.
“He never pointed it at me but he did pull it out,” said Beck under questioning by his attorney, Derek Wright. “I was concerned about my safety because I didn’t have my firearm on me. I thought if I just kept out of his way, it’d be OK.”
Beck admitted under cross-examination by Powers that the alleged incident took place in view of other adults and children getting off the bus that Friday before Sunday’s shooting. However, he said he didn’t report it.
Powers doubted his assertion that he was afraid of Liverpool because of the actions he either took or didn’t take when Liverpool showed up.
“You didn’t tell Lakeya to stay inside, that she didn’t know what happened Friday at the bus stop?” she said. “You were inside your home when he showed up. Do your doors close? Do you have a phone? When he got there, you didn’t call 911? You didn’t lock your doors, did you? You were so afraid you went outside?”
Under questioning by Wright, Beck teared up and said he regretted killing Liverpool.
“I regret it every night and every morning I wake up,” he said. “I was just scared. I wasn’t aiming. Me, personally, thought he had a gun. I wish I could take it back.”
When Powers questioned him, she had Beck leave the stand and re-enact the shooting using a dummy gun. During the demonstration, Beck said he “was and wasn’t” worried about Burroughs.
“I wasn’t worried until she spit on him and he spit back,” he said. “He acted like he was going to hit her.”
Beck said he grabbed Burroughs with his left arm and pulled her away from Liverpool and to his left side as he pulled his gun out, finger on the trigger. He told jurors he could see Liverpool’s empty hand but fired anyway.
Powers said Beck didn’t act like a man who believed he’d fired in self-defense in the aftermath of the shooting. Beck ran away, throwing the gun in the woods.
When police arrived, Burroughs and her sister, Jade Burroughs, who also testified for Beck, told officers a stranger fired the shot. They later met up with Beck and drove him to their mother’s apartment in Sandy Springs to hide out, according to testimony. He was arrested two days after the shooting.
“It was self-defense but you hid out?” said Powers.
“Yes,” he said.