HENRICO COUNTY, Va. — The second day in the trial of a man accused in a drive-by shooting that left two people injured, including a five-year-old girl, came to a close with the prosecution nearing the end of its case Thursday.
Thursday saw an additional eight witnesses testify for the prosecution, including expert witnesses and the man who drove the car that Walton allegedly fired from.
The day began with a continuation of the defense’s cross-examination of a forensic detective and questioning what evidence he collected at various scenes associated with the case and what additional tests were conducted on the evidence; this included DNA and fingerprint tests on the guns recovered from the home.
Jurors also heard from another police officer who responded to the scene and provided treatment to the other person injured in the shooting. The officer said he appeared to be injured in the forearm and she applied a tourniquet to his arm and was with him until paramedics arrived.
The next witness was a Henrico County police officer who conducted a traffic stop on April 7, 2019 that led to the seizure of the alleged vehicle, a Jeep Grand Cherokee, used in the drive-by and the recovery of a gun, a .45-caliber Glock, and magazine from that vehicle.
The jurors also heard a testimony from the man whose car that was and who was driving it the day of the alleged shooting (but was not driving it at the time of the traffic stop).
The driver testified that he, Walton, who he knew as “Honcho”, and a third man (who was in the car during the April 7 traffic stop) had all been at the house of a friend in Henrico County on April 4, 2019.
He said he drove the two of them to a meeting the third man had with a probation officer and during that drive, Walton was in the front passenger seat. Later, after a stop at a convenience store, the driver said Walton broke the panel on the passenger side door and he told Walton to ride in the back because of that.
Later, the driver said they were driving on Byron St., and passed the house where the shooting happened, while heading to a gas station. He said Walton, now in the back seat, said that he had forgotten something at their friend’s house and to turn around.
The driver said after he turned around and then approached the Byron St. house he heard three “pops” behind him that believed were gunshots. He added that he believed the shots came from inside of the car because of how loud they were.
The driver said he never saw anyone fire a gun nor did he ever see Walton in possession of a gun that day.
He said after he heard the noise, his first instinct was to stop and find out what happened, but that Walton told him to keep driving. He said he dropped Walton and the other passenger off once they got closer to the home that Walton said he had forgotten something.
The driver admitted he did not contact or talk to police about what happened that day until after his car was seized in the traffic stop.
In his cross-examination, the defense attorney questioned the driver about statements he gave to police and apparent differences in his testimony on the stand. He also questioned his motives for testifying.
There was also a parole officer who testified in the trial that she had a meeting with the third person who was in the car with Walton and the driver. She said she had given that person a business card with the date of their next meeting on it.
That card was found in the car that was seized in the traffic stop.
The jurors also heard from two expert witnesses on Thursday.
The first was a firearms examiner from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) who was asked to analysis and compare the three guns recovered from the home, plus the gun recovered from the car with all of the bullets, fragments, and cartridge cases recovered.
The three guns recovered from the home were a Titan .25-caliber auto pistol, a Llama .45-caliber auto pistol, and a Taurus 9mm Luger pistol. The gun recovered from the car was a Glock .45-caliber auto pistol.
The examiner said she was able to link three bullets and three cartridge cases to the Titan; two cartridge cases and no bullets to the Llama; seven cartridge cases and one bullet to the Taurus; and two cartridge cases and no bullets to the Glock.
The examiner added there were also a number of cartridges or bullets that she could not make conclusive determinations about.
The other expert witness was a special agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation who analyzed the data in Walton’s cellphone.
Earlier, a detective had testified that when he interviewed Walton on April 9, 2019, Walton told him that he had heard about the shooting but was not there when it happened.
The special agent testified that his analysis of both calls made from Walton’s phone and pings between his phone and nearby towers placed the phone in the neighborhood and on Byron St. three times on the afternoon of April 4, 2019, including at 4:30, the approximate time of the shooting.
The agent testified the data also placed the phone at the probation office mentioned in previous testimony and then, minutes following the shooting, at a home on Hobson Lane for almost five hours.
In cross-examination, the defense attorney raised questions about the reliability and accuracy of the technology. He also clarified with the agent that while it may have placed the phone in the locations, he did not know who was in possession of the phone.
End of Trial in Sight
At the end of the day, attorneys for both sides indicated to Henrico Circuit Judge Randall Johnson Jr. they would be finished presenting the case by midday Friday and the jury could begin deliberation.
The case is scheduled to resume at 9:30 a.m. on Friday.