2008 slaying trial starts today in Georgetown

The man accused of fatally shooting an Andrews man in a possible gang-related dispute will face trial at 9:30 a.m. today in Georgetown.

Police say Dominic Leggette, charged with murder, shot and killed 22-year-old Antonio Tisdale and wounded Al Ingram in 2008 outside of the Super Chic convenience store in Andrews.

Leggette also is facing a charge of assault and battery with intent to kill.

Prosecutor Scott Hixson and defense attorney Ron Hazzard spent about an hour Monday with circuit Judge Ben Culbertson going over pre-trial motions. The pair debated whether Hixson would be allowed to show jurors a police lineup shown to Ingram the day after the altercation or statements and recordings made by Leggette while he was in police custody.

Hazzard said police coercion was involved in taking Leggette's statement. Culbertson ruled Monday that the statement and lineup were admissible and said he would allow the attorneys to argue coercion and validity of the lineup before the jury.

Hazzard said Leggette was arrested, held overnight at the Georgetown County Detention Center and then Andrews police investigator Eddie Lee and Andrews Police Chief Harvey Knox removed Leggette from the Georgetown County Detention Center to be interrogated.

"He was not given any information that he did not have to go with them," Hazzard said to Culbertson. "The state has nothing showing removing him was for an appearance before a magistrate, bond hearing or any other administrative proceeding. At that point anything else they say he said while in custody, we would argue, [Leggette] mis-testified."

Hazzard said police read Leggette his Miranda rights, explaining he had the right to an attorney, but Leggette waived the right to an attorney under coercion.

"We argue he did not feel he had those rights," Hazzard said. "He was interrogated for two hours, He was not given the opportunity to eat, take a break or use bathroom."

Lee said Monday that he read and explained Leggette his rights, which was recorded on tape, and Leggette said he understood. Leggette also had to initial that he waived his right to an attorney.

Lee said Leggette requested to speak to police on Sept. 10 and Sept. 13.

Leggette told the judge Monday he felt coerced and felt the Miranda rights did not protect him.

"It was the way I was basically hunted for something I was accused of. So I was very scared," Leggette said.

Leggette said he turned himself in to U.S. Marshals Service in September 2008, after he said he heard they were looking for him.

Ingram told the judge Monday that he knew Leggette before the shooting, from an altercation a year prior. He said he was able to identify Leggette in a photographic lineup within seconds.

"I didn't know his name, but knew his face around town," Ingram said.

Ingram said he was standing about 10 to 15 feet away from Leggette at the time of the shooting.

The shooting happened at 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.

"Ingram said earlier there was prior bad blood. This is an issue of self-defense," said Hazzard, with the 15th Judicial Circuit's public defender's office. "On this particular Wednesday they decided to chase [Leggette] down."