Family had gathered at a house on Frederica Place in south Macon to mourn a death.
Before the burial, the family was mourning a second death.
Lechelle Moore testified Tuesday that she had helped separate Quinton Lavere Jones and Steven Johnson, two men she’d dated, during an argument right before Jones shot Johnson multiple times.
Jones, 39, is charged with murder and aggravated assault in Johnson’s Aug. 4, 2013, shooting death. His trial began Tuesday in Bibb County Superior Court.
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Bobby Bearden, Jones’ lawyer, told jurors in his opening statement that Jones fired on Johnson in self-defense. He contends Johnson was the aggressor in the argument and that Johnson pointed a gun at him.
Bearden said Jones plans to testify in his own defense, a relatively rare occurrence in local murder trials.
“There is no way Quinton Jones could be guilty of any crime at all,” Bearden told jurors. “He had no malice.”
Jones didn’t go there planning to hurt anyone. The events happened on the “spur of the moment,” Bearden said.
After shooting Johnson, Jones went home in a panic. He didn’t know Johnson was dead, Bearden told jurors.
Prosecutor John Regan said several witnesses will testify about what they saw on the day of the shooting.
They will say Johnson did not have a gun, he said.
A GBI firearms expert also is expected to testify that evidence collected points to only one gun being fired, Regan said.
Moore, the prosecution’s first witness, said she and Jones weren’t dating on Aug. 4, 2013. When questioned by Bearden, Moore admitted she and Jones were living together on Satterfield Drive, not far from Frederica Place.
Johnson was the father of one of her children, she testified.
Moore said she left the wake at some point after arguing with Jones. She hoped to defuse the situation.
Jones had been banned from the house by family members and police, she said.
Jones followed her to a nearby store, Moore said.
“He told me that we weren’t going to be together tonight,” Moore said, referring to Johnson.
Moore said she returned to the wake but parked at a neighbor’s house to hide her whereabouts.
Jones soon arrived and signed the guest book. Johnson was outside, she said.
Moore said she and Jones began arguing again, and Johnson walked in.
“Everything broke loose,” she said.
Moore said she and another man pulled the two men apart as they argued in the kitchen of the house.
Jones was standing at the doorway when he turned around and fired four gunshots at Johnson, she said.
Johnson fell to the ground, and Jones left. Jones returned and stood over Johnson as he fired two shots into his head, she said.
Moore described the look on Jones’ face as being “empty.”
She said she didn’t see Johnson with a gun, and Johnson didn’t threaten Jones.
Several members of Johnson’s family sobbed during Moore’s testimony.
Testimony in the trial is set to continue Wednesday.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report.