One of three men charged in connection with the Sept. 9, 2010, murder of Chance Lecroy gave dramatic testimony in General Sessions Court on Tuesday on how the robbery and killing went down.
Ronald Lee Pittman said he held a gun on Lecroy's roommate in the living room, while in a back bedroom Patrick Carmody first fired a shot at Lecroy and then struggled with him and then Billy Bob Partin finished him off with a second gunshot.
Charges against all three were bound to the Grand Jury by Judge Ron Durby.
Pittman said he first told police he did not know anything about the incident, but he said he later laid out exactly what happened. He said, "It's been hard for me to live with this on my chest. I finally got it off my chest and I told the truth."
Getting agitated and waving his arms, he said Carmody "threatened to kill me, threatened to kill my wife and threatened to kill my daughter" if he told on them.
The state called Tucker King, who said he lived with his half-brother, Chris King, and with Lecroy at the house at 1211 Johnston Terrace. He said Lecroy sold marijuana and kept the proceeds in two safes in his room. Asked how much he dealt in, he said, "A quarter pound at the most at one time."
He said at the time of the killing he was sleeping on a couch in the living room and Lecroy was asleep in the back bedroom. He said he was awakened by a gunshot, then saw a man in the kitchen. He said the man put a gun to his head and told him to get on the floor.
He said he heard a struggle in the bedroom, then there was a second gunshot.
The witness said he heard one of the men say, "I got it. Let's go." He said he later looked out a window and saw a gray pickup truck driving off. He said the truck was very loud.
He said when he went back to check on Lecroy he had no sign of life.
Manny Alcantara said he worked at the Harbor Lights Yacht Club along with Pittman and Partin. He said Carmody was a friend of the group.
He said some of those at the yacht club had made visits to Lecroy's place.
The witness said Partin at the time was driving a 1980s pickup truck that was at first blue and then was painted gray.
Eddie Holloway, who also worked at the marina, said on the day of the murder that he saw all three defendants in the gray truck. He said later that day he was at the apartment of Josh Dawson when Carmody came in "covered with blood." He said he proceeded to take a shower.
Ashley Birdwell said she was living with Scott Partin, brother of Billy Bob Partin, at the time. She said Billy Bob Partin came to their residence at 4 a.m. all distraught and crying. She said he told them, "The robbery went wrong," then directed her to leave the room. She said she heard on the news later that day that a man had been killed.
Asked what she was doing up at 4 a.m., she said she was on meth at the time "and with meth you don't sleep." She said they had been on a three-day meth binge.
Pittman, who is from Jasper, said Partin had gotten the truck from New Hope in Marion County, then changed the paint on it.
He said the three of them agreed to carry out the robbery of the drug house, and he said he went inside Sportsman's Academy on Highway 153 and bought masks, 380 shells, duct tape, a ball cap and two Gatorades using his debit card. He said he went in because the other two "didn't have no money."
Pittman said they arrived at the Lecroy place, then started to leave. But he said Carmody stated, "We're here. We're going to do it. Let's go back."
He said all three were armed with handguns.
Pittman said the other two went in the back of the house and he stood guard over the man on the couch. He said he heard a struggle and gunshots in the back. He said they left the house without taking anything.
He said he was later told by the pair that Carmody had fired a shot at Lecroy and struggled with him on the floor. He was told that Lecroy was getting the best of Carmody and was on top of him, then Partin fired a shot. Police said the victim had a shot in the back and there was a shell casing from a different gun found in the room.
Pittman said in the truck driving back that Partin was "panicking" and he himself was "devastated." He said Carmody was hollering at the driver, "Get us out of here. Get us out of here. Go. Go. Go."
He said Carmody had blood all over him.
Pittman said they drove to a McDonald's where one of them had left a vehicle.
He said he was at Carmody's cabin when Carmody was burning his bloody clothes. Pittman said he threw his mask and gloves in the fire.
He said Partin took the truck "up on the mountain." He said Partin said, "The truck will never be found."
Detective Bill Phillips said Lecroy's cell phone was traced to near Soddy Daisy an hour after the slaying and then traced to a tower on Highway 111 headed toward Dunlap an hour after that.