An admitted associate of the Bloods street gang fingered an alleged Bloods associate as being the killer of a 17-year-old Columbia youth in an ongoing Columbia murder trial Wednesday.
Admitted Bloods associate Michael Douglas told a jury that he was in a moving car with fellow Bloods member Cola Fred Taylor, 24, when Taylor fired the volley of shots from a .38 caliber pistol into another moving car, killing the youth.
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Taylor, of Columbia, is on trial for murder in circuit court for killing Sintray Bell in the early morning hours of May 8, 2009, in north Columbia’s Greenview community.
Taylor, testified Douglas, “sat on the window part of the car and started shooting.”
“Did anyone from the other car shoot at all?” asked prosecutor Luck Campbell of the 5th Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s office.
“No ma’am,” said Douglas, 21, who dropped out of Spring Valley High School after the 10th grade.
Douglas said he was a passenger in the car driven by Dominique Pabon, whom Douglas said was another Bloods associate. With them, in the back seat with his gun, was Taylor.
Bloods gang members and associates don’t like to testify against each other, SLED chief Reggie Lloyd, said outside of court. “They’re supposed to stick together. They pride themselves on a code of honor, but if they can cut a better deal, they will testify against each other.”
Douglas acknowledged he was trying to get a reduced sentence in exchange for his testimony about the Bell shooting. He has pleaded guilty to reduced charges in the Bell shooting and is awaiting sentencing.
If convicted of murder in Bell’s death, Taylor could get life in prison.
Douglas’ testimony came just before other damaging testimony, this time by SLED expert witness and evidence analyst Ila Simmons.
Simmons testified that of all the people in both cars — the one Taylor was in and the one Bell was in — Taylor was the only one who had gunshot residue on his hands.
Suspects are tested on the palms and backs of their hands, she testified.
Not only did Taylor have gunshot residue, but his residue also was six times higher than what would be considered the minimal amount scientifically needed to conclude he had fired a gun, Simmons testified.
The shooting wasn’t planned. It happened when Taylor, Douglas and Pabon were riding around the Greenview neighborhood, and Taylor saw a young man wearing black beads with some other youths.
“(Taylor) stuck his head back in the car and says, ‘He got on beads!’” Douglas testified. The beads were a symbol of a rival gang, the Folk, Douglas testified.
Then, according to Douglas, Taylor ordered the driver, Pabon, to follow a car the youth with the black beads had just jumped into.
“Do the Folk and the Bloods get along?” asked Campbell.
“No, ma’am,” replied Douglas.
As they followed the car, Taylor kept urging Pabon to keep up with the Folk car and was “hanging out the window, yelling,” testified Douglas, who said he was “sitting there trying to figure out what was going on.”
A few minutes later, Taylor hollered, “He’s reaching! He’s reaching!” and fired “three or four” shots into the car with Bell in it, Douglas testified.
“At what point did you know he (Taylor) had a gun?” asked Campbell.
“When he started shooting,” testified Douglas.
Within several minutes, a Richland County sheriff’s deputy began pursuing the car with Taylor and Douglas, Douglas testified.
During the deputy’s pursuit, Taylor tried to get him to take the gun he had just fired, Douglas said.
Taylor’s defense attorney, Mark Schnee, tried to cast doubt on what Taylor said. Under cross-examination, Douglas admitted to he lied to police in initial statements about the shooting.
The prosecution, which presented 22 witnesses, wrapped up its case Wednesday. The defense is expected to start its case this morning. The trial is before Judge Casey Manning.