One of the three defendants in the ongoing Richland County “cold case” murder trial admitted on the witness stand Monday that he shot and killed Antonio Corbitt during a 2005 home invasion of Corbitt’s apartment.
“It was happening so fast,” said Gregg Isaac, who testified that an associate, Tavares World, had just kicked in Corbitt’s front door.
After World and Corbitt began fighting, Isaac testified, it looked like Corbitt was going to pull a gun and shoot him, so Isaac shot him with the .380 pistol he was carrying.
Isaac made his statements in a pretrial hearing Monday afternoon before Judge Clifton Newman.
Isaac’s attorney, Mark Schnee, then argued that Isaac should be granted immunity from prosecution under South Carolina’s “stand your ground” law, which allows people to use deadly force if they fear for their lives. Isaac testified he was in fear for his life.
However, Newman ruled that since Isaac was the one who was entering Corbitt’s apartment, that law doesn’t apply.
“It borders on the preposterous for the defendant in this case to claim he was acting lawfully and had the right to kill Mr. Corbitt,” Newman said from the bench.
Newman indicated however, he is open to allowing Schnee to argue self-defense on Isaac’s behalf to the jury later on in the trial.
Isaac, 26, World, 36, and a third man, Vernorris Dixon, 37, are charged with murder in Corbitt’s death. Corbitt was 29.
Isaac’s testimony took place Monday afternoon as the judge heard pretrial motions about what the jury might be allowed to hear. A jury was to be seated by Tuesday morning at the latest.
Isaac’s testimony was the first time the triggerman behind Corbitt’s shooting death has been identified. Up to now, law enforcement had not revealed details of the case.
Several other key pieces of information were revealed Monday during the pretrial hearing:
• The fingerprint that led the Richland County sheriff’s department to reopen the case in late 2011 was Isaac’s and was lifted from a lampshade in Corbitt’s apartment. Sheriff’s deputies then brought Isaac in to headquarters, whereupon he confessed and told them about World’s involvement.
• Dixon drove the car used to drive Isaac and World to Corbitt’s apartment. Dixon is slated to testify for the prosecution.
Reach Monk at (803) 771-8344.