Attorneys have given their opening statements before jurors and police officials from the Andrews Police Department and Georgetown County Sheriff's Office have taken the stand during the murder trial of Dominic Leggette.
Leggette has been charged with murder in the shooting death of 22-year-old Antonio Tisdale in Andrews in 2008. Leggette has also been charged with assault and battery with intent to kill in the wounding of Al Ingram during the same incident.
In his opening statement Deputy Solicitor Scott Hixson told jurors the shooting was a coming-of-age ritual for Leggette.
"Three shots. Bam, bam, bam. An absolute celebration of power," Hixson told jurors. "Leggette decided he was going to be a man by grabbing a gun. …With three shots he came of age."
Attorney Ronald Hazzard, who is representing Leggette, told jurors his client was acting in self-defense.
"Here we have a young man, Dominic Leggette," said Hazzard with the public defender's office. "What this case is about is the fact that defending yourself is never a crime."
Hazzard told jurors that on the night of Aug. 13, 2008, Leggette went to give his girlfriend a car charger while she was at an Andrews nightclub when he was harassed.
Leggette tried to remove himself but was chased by Tisdale and Ingram, Hazzard said.
"Once they saw him leave … then they ran after him," Hazzard said. "He did what he felt he needed to do to protect his life."
The shooting happened about 10:40 p.m. Aug. 13, 2008, near the corner of Farr and Main streets in Andrews. Tisdale was pronounced dead about an hour later at Georgetown Memorial Hospital, said Georgetown County Coroner Kenny Johnson.
Tisdale died of a gunshot to the chest, according to autopsy results. It is believed that the shooting was part of an ongoing dispute and that Leggette is affiliated with a gang in Andrews, Lee said at the time.