In an emotional day of testimony, the jury chosen to decide if the 24-year-old Lakeisha Arnita Talley was reckless the night of Lane Alan Gann's death heard Wednesday from 13 witnesses. Testimony is expected to continue today.
Talley faces two charges -- involuntary manslaughter and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime -- in connection with the fatal shooting of Gann, 19, at an Acworth home July 26, 2009.
Medical Examiner Dr. Jonathan Eisenstat told jurors the .22 Magnum shot to Gann's chest injured his heart in multiple locations, and although ambulance crews arrived within 11 minutes of the 911 call, there was no way to save Gann's life. Eisenstat said the fatal shot was fired from an intermediate distance, 6 inches to 2 feet from Gann.
According to the testimonies of several witnesses, Talley had retrieved the .22 bolt-action rifle from the trunk of her car, but Gann thought it was a BB gun. Talley told him the gun was real, and he said, "If the gun is real, then shoot me with it," said Tiffany Cloyd, who lived and held a party that night at the 6411 Glade Road home. "With no hesitation, she pulled the trigger and shot him in the chest."
Cloyd told jurors Talley said immediately after the shooting, "I didn't shoot you. I didn't shoot you. Please tell me I didn't shoot you."
Witnesses said Talley then ran toward the woods nearby and disposed of the firearm, and law enforcement officers testified it was found several feet from the home.
Cloyd, who worked with Talley and invited Talley and other friends to the home that night, told jurors of a subsequent text message in which Talley said the shooting was an accident, and that she "didn't mean to do it."
In text messages, Talley told Cloyd she had fled the scene and did not return because she did not want to go to jail, Cloyd said. She added Talley told her she was bringing a gun to the party, and did so even though Cloyd advised her not to bring a firearm to her house.
Three people present at the gathering took the stand, telling jurors Talley made comments about retrieving the "deuce-deuce," prior to the shooting, but all witnesses said there was no discord among the partygoers.
Anthony Dotson, who was nearby when Gann was shot, told jurors Talley made racial slurs, and threatened him with the gun prior to removing it from the trunk. He said he returned to his vehicle as a result of the alleged threat, but on cross examination revealed he never reported the incident to police.
He told jurors he believed Gann's shooting was intentional and pointed to what he sees as an inadequate investigation by law enforcement. Two of Gann's other friends who took the stand said they were not too intoxicated to give statements that evening, as was noted in the responding deputy's report. One of those men said he provided a written statement, but there was no record of such in investigative files.
Two witnesses, including Talley's friend, Shamika Brown, who went to the party with her, said Talley had been drinking and had at least one large beer and a shot of liquor. Cloyd said Talley also smoked marijuana during the gathering.
Brown told jurors Talley and her three companions fled the scene after the shooting, and that Talley was scared to go back. The foursome traveled to a nearby mobile home park, but the three women with Talley apparently left on foot, and Brown called police to report the incident and Talley's whereabouts.
A deputy spotted Talley after receiving a burglary-in-progress call from the mobile home park, he told jurors. Talley pulled her white Honda Civic behind the office and had apparently hidden under the mobile home, from which deputies retrieved her purse.
The deputy told jurors Talley spontaneously said the incident was an accident, was distraught and covered in dirt and leaves.
The gun, designed for small game hunting, was found re-cocked with the safety in the on position, Lt. Robert Moultrie told jurors. His testimony is expected to continue today.
The trial, over which Superior Court Judge Shepherd Howell is presiding, is likely to wrap up today or Friday.