911 Call may prove teen was "executed"
FRESNO, Calif. -- Witnesses who were just yards away from the shooting that killed two teenagers made a critical distinction Thursday that could help prosecutors prove it was murder. They're trying to prove there was a pause between shots fired by the Beard brothers -- Jarrad and Jerry -- and a 911 call could help.
Prosecutor Mike Frye says at least one of the teenage victims was basically executed last December. He says say Jarrad and Jerry Beard fired off a series of shots, then paused, got closer to a wounded victim and shot him point-blank.
Early in the trial, two witnesses had testified they had just heard a rapid succession of gunshots. But on Thursday, two other witnesses said there was a pause before the last shot or shots. And in a 911 call, one of them even said she saw it happen.
A shell casing, some shoes, and a blood trail are the clues police collected from the scene where 18-year-old Justin Hesketh and 16-year-old Brandon Moore were shot to death. The evidence helped police piece together what happened, although the exact details of how they died are only known to the two teens who shot and killed them -- Jarrad and Jerry Beard. But a 911 call made right after shots were fired could make the picture clearer.
"The shooter took off heading south away from the apartments," said the witness. "That's all I could see."
"He went southbound?" asked the 911 operator.
"Yes," the witness said.
"Did you see him running?" the operator asked
"I couldn't," said the woman who called 911. "All I could see was a dark figure and he shot him at close range."
We're not allowed to identify the civilian witnesses, but the woman who made that call testified Thursday that the details of that night have grown foggy. She remembered hearing a few gunshots, then she went outside and downstairs to check on her daughter.
"I thought as I was heading back up the stairs that I heard an additional shot or two shots," she testified.
Prosecutors say the Beards had already killed Hesketh with the first flurry of gunshots, but Moore was still alive. Another neighbor also heard the pause after those shots.
"I heard 1,2,3,4,5 shots and then a pause for a few seconds and then one more shot," she said.
Prosecutors say Jarrad Beard got right up close to Moore -- that would account for the pause -- and he shot the other teen at close range.
The victims both had meth in their bodies when they died and defense attorneys say Moore and Hesketh actually initiated the deadly confrontation by giving chase down this sidewalk, and by making verbal threats.
A couple family members had to step out of court Thursday while photos of the crime scene were shown.
Prosecutors still have several more witnesses to go before the defense takes over.
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