Testimony: Alleged M&M Food Mart murderer told victim, ‘I’ll shoot your (expletive) on camera’
Detective testifies defendant, victim had fight at gas station hours before fatal shooting
MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - A fatal shooting at a convenience store in Theodore in September followed a videotaped fight between the alleged murderer and the victim at a gas station earlier that day, an investigator testified Monday.
Mobile County District Judge George Hardesty determined that prosecutors had presented sufficient evidence against Anthony Malek Alston for a grand jury to consider a murder indictment.
Mobile police Detective Roy Graves testified at Monday’s preliminary hearing that surveillance footage from the Exxon gas station on U.S. 90 and Bellingrath Road captured the fight between Alston and victim Jamarcus Lewis. But Mobile County Assistant District Attorney Stuart Lang said after the hearing that a motive is not clear.
“I don’t know the reasoning for the fight. I just know that there was a physical altercation that happened at the checkout counter of a gas station, and that is on video, as well,” he said. “It helped in the investigation. But as far as why, I don’t have any reason for motive. I don’t have a reason why any of this happened. But we do feel confident in our case.”
The shooting took place outside the M&M Food Mart on U.S. 90 shortly before 8 p.m. on Sept. 24. Graves testified that a gunman fired into a car, striking Lewis. He later died at the University of South Alabama’s University Hospital.
Graves testified that a woman who was inside the car with Lewis at the time told police she had seen someone with a gun go inside the M&M Food Mart. A woman who was with the victim and the other woman told investigators that she saw the man inside the store and that she was outside the car when the gunman opened fire.
One of the witnesses told investigators that the shooter walked outside toward the car, pointed the gun and said, ‘I’ll shoot your (expletive) on camera.”
Surveillance footage from outside the store captured the shooting, Graves testified.
“It is far away,” he said. “It is a little fuzzy. But you can see what we believe be a muzzle flash.”
Graves testified that police found four 5.56 shell casings. He also testified that both of the women who were with Lewis made a “tentative identification” of Alston from a photo array. He said a man who has known Alston since childhood identified him from a still shot of surveillance footage taken inside the store.
Defense attorney Chase Dearman challenged the identification made by the women. On cross-examination, Graves acknowledged that one of the women told police that Alston’s picture in the lineup looked most familiar to her.
“Most familiar is not, ‘That’s the guy,’ correct?” he said.
The other woman said she was “pretty sure” Alston’s picture was the same as the shooter, Graves testified. He said she rated her certainty as a nine out of 10.
Outside the courtroom, Dearman rejected the notion that either woman positively identified his client.
“I completely disagree,” he said. “That was the police officer’s word of a tentative ID. She said she wasn’t sure. … If somebody’s not sure, no, that’s not an ID. Not something a jury can hang their hat on.”
Hardesty denied a prosecution request to revoke bond of the 20-year-old Irvington man, but the judge warned the defendant to avoid all contact with witnesses in the case. Prosecutors had sought revocation of the bond – which had been set but which the defendant had not made – on grounds that he had improper contact with one of the women.
Dearman noted that the woman initiated the contact by sending an email to Alston in jail.
“He certainly didn’t threaten or do anything,” he said.
Outside the hearing, Dearman said he finds it “incredible” that prosecutors would try to revoke bond.
“They tried to revoke his bond based on their own witness contacting him at the jail,” he said. “And the judge wouldn’t have any of it.”
Lang argued that that the defendant has a duty to refrain from contact with witnesses regardless of who initiates contact.
“We’re incredibly frustrated with the continued violence in this in this county, but as far as this case goes, it’s just another instance where young people having arguments that end in someone dying,” he said.
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