PERRY -- Whether a man killed a former local news videographer comes down to the credibility of two eyewitnesses and a receipt for the gun, according to opening statements in Houston County Superior Court Monday.
Eugene Cash Leslie, of Far Rockaway, N.Y., is accused of murdering Jason Wade, who was 32 at the time of his August 2008 death.
Daniel Bibler, deputy chief assistant district attorney, laid out the states case first. He began his PowerPoint presentation with a slide that read COLD BLOODED MURDER.
Bibler said Wade, a former videographer for WMAZ, had recently kicked Leslie and girlfriend Elizabeth Moore out of his rented Brady Drive duplex because the two had outstayed their welcome.
Bibler said an angry Leslie bought a gun from Brandon Kipa, walked to Wades apartment with the gun in Moores purse, picked up associate Jordan Evora along the way, sat to talk to Wade and shot the unarmed man, Bibler said.
Jasons just thinking, Im talking, Bibler said. All of a sudden bullets are flying.
Wade was shot six times, Bibler said, with bullets hitting his right and left arms, head, neck and abdomen.
Leslie, dressed in khaki pants and a light blue button down shirt, spent the afternoon frequently conferring with defense attorney David Daniell on a yellow legal note pad. No one sat on his side of the courtroom.
Daniell told the jury testimony of the two eyewitnesses is illogical, and the state cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt Leslie shot Wade.
The state proposes Leslie essentially invited two witnesses to come along with him and then randomly starts shooting, Daniell said, denying the common sense of the scenario.
He questioned Moores credibility, as well. Moore is testifying under a October 2008 plea agreement in which she pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and possession of a firearm and was sentenced to 20 years in prison, Houston County District Attorneys Office records show.
Daniell also pointed out no blood was found on Leslies clothes after officers stopped and arrested him, and no fingerprints or ballistics connect Leslie to the crime.
Bibler said the gun was never found because Leslie got rid of it.
However, he said, the state does have a copy of the bill of sale for a .40 caliber handgun from Kipa to Leslie. The receipt, the top part filled out by the pawn shop where Kipa originally bought the gun and the bottom handwritten to show the exchange between Kipa and Leslie, was shown to the jury.
Kipa testified Monday he sold the gun to Leslie for cash and cocaine.
Leslie is also charged with felony possession of cocaine for the drugs found with him at the time of his arrest.
Emma Griffin, who lived with Wade, testified the arrangement for Leslie to stay at the duplex included payment in cash and a little bit of drugs.
Mr. Wade, youll learn, had some issues, just like anybody has issues, Bibler told the jury during his opening. Mr. Wade is not a bad guy.
Janice Wade, the victims mother, and other family friends filled the first row of the prosecutors side of the courtroom. With a box of tissues in her lap, she stared almost blankly and fiddled anxiously with her hands.
She took the stand, testifying her son left Warner Robins after a stint with WMAZ to be a news producer in North Carolina and Boston. He returned home when a bout of severe depression and mental illness struck.
He couldnt care for himself, she said.
She and her husband distributed medications to their son, even after he moved into the duplex to be on his own, she said.
She testified that she was the one to find Jason Wade sprawled on the living room sofa.
I seen a hole in his head and a bullet wound to his arm, Griffin said in a cracking voice. I probably passed out for a minute or two.
Evora and Moore are set to testify Tuesday when the trial resumes at 9 a.m., Bibler said after Mondays proceedings.
To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.