Testimony will continue Thursday in the murder trial of a woman accused of shooting a man, who was described as her best friend, to death in 2018.
Circuit Judge Jodi Raines Dennis is hearing the case, which began Wednesday.
Lecole Wilson was 20 when she was arrested following the death of Jamonte Smith, also 20. Smith’s body was found inside a house at 2809W. 40th Ave. on Aug. 28, 2018, and taken to Jefferson Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Wilson has pleaded not guilty.
“There was no argument, no fuss,” attorney Garfield Bloodman, who is representing Wilson, said during his opening statement. “This is an overzealous eager prosecution because someone died.”
Wilson initially told police she and Smith were outside the house walking in the street when he was hit by a stray bullet, and she later said the shooting was an accident, claiming that she was sitting on the lid of the toilet putting the gun away when it went off. She said a bullet struck Smith, causing his death.
“She panicked,” Bloodman said. “When she talked to (the) 911 operator, who asked how Smith died, she lied. When the first officer (Sgt. Michael Roberts) took a taped statement, she lied. When she got to the detective office, she told what happened.”
Deputy Prosecutor Robert Dietrich, who is representing the state, said in his opening statement that jurors will hear a lot about Smith during the trial but said Smith “is not here to tell his story.”
“Jamonte Smith was a fighter,” Dietrich said. “When he was born, he weighed 2 pounds, 7 ounces. His mother had seven miscarriages. He grew up to be a gentle giant. He was 6-feet 2-inches tall and weighed 350 pounds. He loved kids.”
Dietrich said the facts don’t support Wilson’s statements.
“She’s not telling the truth,” he said. “What she said happened couldn’t have happened.”
After obtaining a search warrant, police found a .22-caliber semi-automatic handgun in Wilson’s bedroom between the mattress and box springs, along with a .22-caliber shell casing that Wilson had wrapped in tissue paper and concealed in her underwear.
Wilson’s mother, Christy Wilson, testified that she had picked Wilson up at work, then picked up Smith and took the two of them, along with Wilson’s daughter, to the house on West 40th where the Wilsons were living with Christy Wilson’s mother.
She said that after learning from her husband about the shooting, she got a phone call and a text from her daughter. After an objection from Bloodman, Wilson was allowed to tell jurors that the text said “there’s a gun under the bed. Please get it before they search the house.”
Also testifying was MECA Dispatcher Amber Oliver, who took the 911 call from Wilson reporting the shooting. In that call, Wilson said a male had been shot, and when asked who did the shooting, Wilson said three times the male was hit by a stray bullet.
Former Pine Bluff Police Officer Steven Green, who now is an officer in Sherwood, testified that he was the first officer on the scene. He said that when he arrived, he heard screaming and crying and found Smith on the floor of the bedroom bleeding from the chest and mouth.
Green said he had his partner take Wilson outside while he tried to talk to Smith and find out what happened. When ambulance service personnel arrived, Green said he put his hand over Smith’s wound and did heart compressions at the request of the paramedics.
When he testified, Sgt. Roberts said he recorded a statement from Wilson at the scene in which she said Smith had been shot while the two were outside walking and when the two got back into the house, Smith collapsed.
“Her statement was not consistent with the evidence,” Roberts said.