What seemed like an innocuous errand for Dominic Leggette in August 2008 turned into a shooting that left one young men dead, another wounded and Leggette charged with murder, he told jurors Wednesday.
He testified on the last day of his trial, but jurors were unable to reach a verdict after about three hours of deliberations. They are expected to resume at about 9:30 a.m. today.
Leggette, of Andrews, tried to explain during his testimony how dropping off his then-girlfriend's phone charger in front of Cornelle's nightclub in Andrews turned into a fatal shooting.
The 21-year-old shared a story of long-time rivalry between two Andrews neighborhoods and fear.
Leggette is charged with murder and assault and battery with intent to kill in the shooting death of Antonio Tisdale and injury to Al Ingram in 2008 outside the Superchic convenience store in Andrews.
On Aug. 13, 2008, Leggette said he went to Cornelle's nightclub to give his girlfriend a phone charger. He knew people were there from Ingram's neighborhood hanging out at Blue's nightclub, near Cornelle's.
Leggette testified he feared for his life that night. Leggette and Ingram, who are from rival Andrews neighborhoods, had previous confrontations, he said.
Leggette is from the uptown neighborhood while Ingram and Tisdale were from the Jones Avenue area, known as the Westside.
All previous fights had been fist fights.
Leggette said he brought the gun with him that night for his own safety.
"I had a bad feeling," Leggette said.
When he got there, Leggette said he was confronted by two men with a group of others behind them.
Witnesses throughout the trial said there were between two to 10 men in front of Blue's that evening.
"I was scared cause it was more than one person," Leggette said. "I already knew I was going to get jumped."
He explained to jurors that it was a way of life in a small town like Andrews, where the group from Jones Avenue and those from the Uptown frequently got into lynchings or mob fights.
"This Andrews thing has gone on for years," Leggette said. "It's something that everyone in Andrews knows about."
Leggette said he backed away that night and called his cousin to pick him up at the Superchic convenience store.
"In the course of me walking off, I heard somebody coming behind me," Leggette said. "I heard somebody say, 'What's up now?'"
Leggette said he saw Ingram.
"He was reaching for something. I was already scared and I didn't know what to do," Leggette said. "He was known for carrying a gun. I thought he was carrying a gun. I proceeded to shoot two or three times. I took the back alley, and I ran off."
The shooting happened about 10:40 p.m., near the corner of Farr and Main streets in Andrews. Tisdale was pronounced dead about an hour later at Georgetown Memorial Hospital, according to authorities.
Leggette was a fugitive for about a month before turning himself in to the U.S. Marshals Service.
He told jurors that he initially lied to police and told them he had not been at the scene the night Tisdale was shot.
Deputy Solicitor Scott Hixson, with the 15th judicial circuit, painted a very different picture of that night's events in his closing statements to jurors Wednesday.
He said Leggette was a frustrated young man seeking retaliation for a humiliation inflicted by Ingram a year earlier. Leggette had been hurt around his tailbone in an earlier fight with Ingram and his crew and had to have his girlfriend tend to him.
"We know the defendant said 'I'm tired of being disrespected,' 'I'm tired of being embarrassed,'" said Hixson .
"'I'm a grown man about to be 20 this year. If I don't make a stand now, I am never going to make a stand for the rest of my life,'" said Hixson, summarizing Leggette's statement to Andrews police.
All testimony and evidence presented at the trial showed Leggette had the only weapon, a gun, the night of the shooting, Hixson said.
"It's difficult to figure out what is going on in minds of young folk," Hixson said." What is normal for us is not necessarily normal for everyone else. There are standards we all live by. You can't kill an unarmed man."