Phone records shared with a Richland County jury Wednesday showed two calls made between defendants within an hour of an attempted robbery at a Columbia bakery and the killing of a young mother who worked there.
The records were shown during the second full day of testimony in the murder trial of Troy Stevenson, charged in the 2013 shooting death of 33-year-old Kelly Hunnewell. Two co-defendants, Lorenzo Young and Trenton Barnes, were found guilty of murder in Hunnewell’s death in December.
Sgt. William Pegram, supervisor of the violent crimes investigation unit at the Columbia Police Department, testified under questioning by Assistant Solicitor Dolly Garfield that two calls were made on July 1, 2013 between Young’s cellphone and a land line phone at the Lucille Drive residence where Stevenson and Barnes, his half-brother, lived. One call was made at 3:05 a.m., followed by a second at 3:14 a.m., Pegram said.
The attempted robbery and slaying at Carolina Cafe, 13 Tommy Circle off Beltline Boulevard, happened about 3:45 a.m., according to police.
But Stevenson’s attorney Aimee Zmroczek questioned Pegram on whether he could determine who made and received the calls just before the shooting.
“Who made this call?” Zmroczek asked.
“I can only tell you where they originated from,” Pegram said.
Prosecutors allege Stevenson, 18 at the time of the crime, was at the bakery acting as a “lookout” for Barnes and Young. Tuesday’s testimony included video surveillance from the bakery showing a person, wearing dark clothing and his face masked, standing in the doorway, as well as other stills showing two individuals shooting Hunnewell.
Garfield, along with Assistant Solicitors Luck Campbell and Nicole Simpson, have said that under South Carolina law, “The hand of one is the hand of all,” and that Stevenson is just as guilty in the shooting death of Hunnewell as his co-defendants.
But Zmroczek has said Stevenson went to the bakery that night at his mother’s request to get Barnes away from the bakery. She said in Tuesday’s opening statement that at family engagements before the crime, it was known that Barnes and Young were planning a robbery of the Ale House. But the bar was closed, so prosecutors say the defendants went to the nearby bakery instead.
In other testimony Wednesday, Sgt. Kevin Reese, who supervises the criminal investigations unit at the Columbia Police Department, identified Troy Stevenson as the masked figure in a cellphone image from Young’s phone. In the image, Stevenson is holding a gun that appears similar to the one used to kill Hunnewell – a Glock 37. Reese said he was able to identify Stevenson because of a tattoo Stevenson has on his forearm.
Although a weapon was not recovered from the crime scene, spent shell casings recovered at the bakery suggest that a Glock 37 firearm was used to fire the .45-caliber bullets.
But Circuit Judge Robert Hood ruled, outside of the jury’s presence, that prosecutors could not introduce their theory that Stevenson brought the Glock to the bakery to give to Young and Barnes because it was circumstantial.
During Wednesday’s testimony, Stevenson sat quietly at the defense table, occasionally scribbling notes on a legal pad but did not make a lot of eye contact with witnesses.
He faces a possible life sentence if found guilty of murder. Stevenson also is charged with second-degree burglary, attempted armed robbery and kidnapping, which carry a total maximum of 60 years in prison.
Barnes, who was 16 at the time of the crime, was sentenced to 50 years. Young, who was 18 at the time, received a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Prosecutors said during last year’s trial that Barnes was the triggerman.
Hunnewell had four children, who were ages 13, 9, 8 and 6 at the time of her death.
Her mother, Nancy Hunnewell, was in the courtroom Wednesday – as she has been throughout court proceedings – flanked at different times during the day by her daughter’s four children.