Houston County murder trial for slain videographer drawing to a close

PERRY -- Closing arguments are expected Thursday morning in the trial of an alleged Warner Robins drug dealer accused of shooting to death a former TV videographer.

Eugene “Cash” Leslie, 29, is accused of murder, aggravated assault and possession of drugs with intent to distribute in connection with the Aug. 28, 2008, death of Jason Wade, 32, a former videographer for WMAZ.

The prosecution rested its case Wednesday after jurors heard testimony from three witnesses. The defense next rested without presenting any witnesses, and jurors were sent home for the rest of the day shortly after 11 a.m.

During the morning testimony, Houston County sheriff’s Sgt. Al Elvins, the lead investigator, relayed the series of investigative events that led to the arrest of Leslie and his girlfriend, Elizabeth Moore, who reached a plea agreement in the case.

Moore and the prosecution’s other key witness, Jordan Evora, were at Wade’s duplex apartment when he was killed and previously testified they heard shots fired and fled.

According to the prosecution, Wade had kicked Leslie and Moore out of the duplex after the couple outstayed their welcome. An angry Leslie is said to have walked over to Wade’s apartment with Moore, who had his gun in her purse. Evora testified he joined them along the way, thinking they were going to Wade’s to smoke marijuana as in the past. Moore testified Leslie retrieved the gun from her purse while she was in the bathroom, and she heard shots fired. Evora, who was seated in a rocking chair facing Wade, testified he did not see who fired the six shots.

Defense attorney David Daniell has argued Moore and Evora’s version of events is not logical and has attempted to poke holes in their testimony. Both Moore and Evora admitted to giving different versions of what happened to police. Daniell again focused Wednesday on steps that were not taken in the investigation such as not testing for gun powder residue on Leslie’s hands and not sending his clothes to the crime lab.

Elvins testified such testing wasn’t deemed necessary 32 hours after the slaying when Leslie was arrested and after Leslie was believed to have changed clothes.

Also, Elvins initially testified Evora told him he saw the gun in Leslie’s hand. But Daniell asked Elvins to check his notes. Daniell told Elvins he could play the 45-minute taped interview of Elvins’ interview with Leslie for the jury.

At this point in the testimony, a juror asked for a recess, which was granted. Afterward, Elvins was back on the stand. He clarified his earlier testimony.

He said another person gave him that information about Leslie, but Evora told him he heard shots fired but didn’t see the gun.

Elvins testified Moore eventually told him the purpose of the visit to Wade’s apartment was to “sell dope.”

Jean Gibbs, a GBI forensic chemist, testified she tested two of three plastic bags that were found on Leslie upon his arrest and both were positive for cocaine.

Amanda Lokar, GBI firearms examiner, testified that six shell casings found at the scene of the shooting matched being fired from a .40 caliber handgun.

Elvins testified the gun used to kill Wade was never recovered, but it’s not uncommon to be unable to recover a weapon used in a crime.

A bill of sale for a handgun sold to Leslie by Brandon Kipa for cash and drugs was previously introduced into evidence.

In a 2008 plea agreement, Moore was sentenced to 20 years for aggravated assault and possession of a firearm in exchange for her testimony, said prosecutor Daniel Bibler, who inherited the case. The plea agreement called for Moore to be released from custody under a curfew condition pending Leslie’s trial and for Moore to receive a recommendation of a reduced sentence of probation from the district attorney’s office after she testified, Bibler said.

A sentence modification hearing would have to be requested by her attorney, Russell Walker, for the 20-year sentence to be modified to probation, Bibler said. Walker could not be reached for comment.

The trial is expected to resume at 9 a.m. Thursday.

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.