Chilling testimony on Zaevion Dobson murder scene

By  | 

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Emotional testimonies during the Zaevion Dobson murder trial took jurors back to the night the Fulton football standout died while shielding friends from a barrage of bullets.

Christopher Drone Bassett, Kipling Deshawn Colbert and Richard Gregory Williams III all face first-degree murder charges in connection with the Dec. 17, 2015, death of the Knoxville teen who was posthumously honored for his courage.

Zaevion's mother, Zenobia, left the courtroom as tears flooded down her face. Her anguished cries were so loud that the defense tried to persuade the judge to grant a mistrial without success. This comes after a Knoxville police officer presented the jury the clothes Zenobia's son wore the night he was killed in Lonsdale.

Officer Fine showed the courtroom an area where a bullet punctured Zaevion's black sweatshirt and the bullet used to end his life.

Judge Sword encouraged jurors to judge the case on the facts, but added, "We can all understand a mother's pain."

After the court resumed for lunch, the state called Larry North to the stand. North said he is related to Kipling Colbert Jr., one of the three men accused of murdering Zaevion.

The state showed North a rap video with the title "L.I.E. Gang." North identified Kipling Colbert Jr., Richard Williams and Christopher Bassett in the video.

Defense attorneys for Bassett and Williams defended their involvement in a rap video authorities call gang-related.

"Because of this video, the state of Tennessee is going to try to get you to think they [Bassett,Williams and Colbert] are gang members. They just want to be rappers," Colbert's attorney challenged Tuesday.

North called a Snapchat conversation with Kipling Colbert Jr. "distant" because Colbert heard he spoke to investigators. North also reported receiving a text message from Richard Williams saying, "We ain't chill in a minute." When prosecutors asked Larry what happened next when he and Williams met at some point, North said, "I don't know what you're asking, but I was shot."

After North testified he was shot one time in the arm and seven times in the leg while meeting Williams at Townview Apartments, the defense tried to strike his statements.

Judge Sword allowed prosecutors to use North's previous recorded interviews with police. In one of the recordings, North told investigators he felt like he was "snitching" but went on to say Williams and Colbert were in cars involved in a shooting where Brandon Perry died.

Tasha Colbert, owner of the Lonsdale home where Zaevion was killed, spoke about what she witnessed on Dec. 17, 2015.

Colbert recalled being contacted by Faith and Kierra, the two girls shielded by Zaevion, early on Dec. 17 to ask if they could spend the night at her home. When asked, Colbert told the girls that boys could come over, but were not allowed inside per her household rules.

Colbert reflected hearing four or five gunshots when she was watching a video on her cell phone.

"I start hearing the girls call my name, Faith is calling my name," Colbert recollected before she called 911. "I just started crying and screaming."

She continued saying when she opened the door and saw Zaevion face down, she started screaming.

"Zach came in, Faith was crying and he was just staring at us and she [Faith] was like 'It's Zaevion.' He [Zach] was like what's going on and he walked through my kitchen and opened the back door and he [Zach] started crying," Colbert testified.

Colbert noticed a bullet holes in her door, porch area and rails before seeing a car pulling out of the area.

"I saw a black BWM pulling out. By the time I was walking down the steps, they were pulling out. I was sitting there looking at them [passengers in BMW] and they were looking at me. They were sitting there," Colbert told the courtroom. "I saw them backing out, but I didn't see who was in it."

Colbert said she remembers Zaevion's brother, Zach, scolding the car to leave.

State prosecutors said Zaevion was killed by only one bullet while at least 34 shots were unleashed the night he died.

"As a protector, he shielded those girls and in the process he took a bullet. He was facing that gunfire when it happened," the state commented.

Proceedings will resume at 9 a.m. Thursday.

15-year-old Zaevion was killed after he threw himself on top of his friends to shield them from gunfire. Investigators reported the shooting was gang-related and the victims were picked at random.

Zaevion's final act gained national attention, including praise from former President Barack Obama and the honor of an Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2016 ESPY Awards.