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Shooting charge advances
Friday, July 13, 2012
By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer
“‘Man, what are you doing?’”
Those were the last words Dacha Fitzgerald said he heard Lamar Ward utter before Ward slumped over in the back seat of a car driven by his sister, Manesha Ward.
Fitzgerald was the first witness called Thursday in the preliminary hearing of Lamont Woods, who was charged with maliciously shooting into an occupied vehicle in connection with the April 28 incident that began on Niblett Drive and ended in a fatal auto accident on Figsboro Road.
Henry County General District Court Judge Frank Greenwalt certified the charge against Woods to circuit court.
At the hearing, Fitzgerald testified that he was in the passenger side of the back seat of the 2002 Honda Accord being driven by his girlfriend, Manesha Ward, 24. Lamar Ward, 18, was seated in the back seat behind the driver. Takea Turner, 21, was in the front seat with her son, Lazerious Turner, 6 months, as the vehicle traveled to the mobile home on Niblett Drive on April 28 to get clothes for Turner and her son, Fitzgerald testified.
Answering questions from Vikram Kapil, one of Woods’ defense attorneys, Fitzgerald testified that Woods and Turner, who were dating, argued the night before through text messages. Turner had spent the night before at a home on Royal Drive, and it was her idea to go to the mobile home the next day, Fitzgerald said.
He testified that Manesha Ward had asked him to ride with them to Niblett Drive.
Manesha Ward had put a weapon in the glove compartment of her car the day before, Fitzgerald said. But, he said he did not see it the next day.
When the Honda arrived on Niblett Drive that day, it parked in front of the trailer in a paved parking area, Fitzgerald said.
Woods, who was seen in the door of the mobile home, walked over to the car and told Lamar Ward to “get out of the vehicle,” Fitzgerald said.
Takea Turner handed her son to Lamar Ward and got out of the vehicle, walking around it and getting between Woods and Lamar Ward, who still was in the car at that point, he testified.
“Lamont (Woods) pushed her to the ground .... That’s when two shots were fired through the side window” toward Lamar Ward, Fitzgerald testified.
Lamar Ward had tried to get out of the vehicle, Fitzgerald testified. Manesha Ward asked Woods to stop shooting.
But after the first two shots were fired, Fitzgerald said Lamar Ward handed the baby to him and reached for his own weapon.
Lamar Ward “always brought a weapon,” Fitzgerald said, but he said he did not see the weapon in Ward’s hands.
Woods, meanwhile, walked around behind the Honda and fired another shot through the back glass toward Lamar Ward, Fitzgerald testified.
Fitzgerald said he then placed the baby in the front seat.
“After I passed the baby off ... I got out and ran .... I left the vehicle when the shot was fired through the back window,” he said.
At the time, Lamar Ward was not moving and “was slumped over in the seat,” Fitzgerald said. He added that he could not tell whether Ward was breathing.
After getting out of the car, Fitzgerald said he took a path through the woods that connected with Figsboro Road. As he ran, Fitzgerald said he heard more shots fired.
He also saw the Honda pass by, with Manesha Ward driving. Fitzgerald added that he was not close enough to tell whether Turner was in the car.
After reaching Figsboro Road, Fitzgerald said he called 911 and also told the dispatcher that Turner may have been back at the mobile home.
While en route to a call at 164 Niblett Drive, Henry County Sheriff’s Investigator Randy Goad said he came up on the scene of an auto accident, and worked to secure the scene.
Other officers secured the scene on Niblett Drive, Goad testified.
The Honda Accord had been heading south on Figsboro Road when it ran off the right side of the road and struck a tree, authorities have said.
All four occupants were thrown from the vehicle, and all were dead, police have said of Manesha Ward, Lamar Ward, Takea Turner and her son, all of Martinsville.
Goad said Lamar Ward’s body was found “lying under a row of cedar shrubs” and there was “a gunshot wound to his back.”
Authorities later found there were “several other” gunshot wounds to his back, and what appeared to be another gunshot wound in his jaw area, Goad said.
When he got to the scene at Niblett Drive around 6 p.m., Goad said evidence collected included 10 shell casings, all the same caliber.
As Kapil questioned Fitzgerald, Woods rarely took his eyes from the witness box. He was brought into the courtroom in handcuffs and leg irons.
Woods also faces first-degree murder and other felony charges in connection with the death of Ward. Those charges were not covered in Tuesday’s hearing.