Brandon Chase's future will be in the jury's hands today, after Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson and Jan King, Chase's attorney, present their final arguments.
Chase, now 29, testified Wednesday he had no plans to rob Keith Mosely - but was trying to warn Mosely that others might be trying to rob him when Mosely was killed in the early morning hours of last April 22.
But Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson contends Chase planned to rob Mosely, so he could get some high quality marijuana without paying for it.
Mosely, 34, Columbia, was shot inside an apartment at 1029-B Buena Vista St.
Grand jurors last April 25 indicted Chase; Tracy Session, now 26, 623 Locust St.; and Khiry Summers, 20, 1606 N. Brooks Court, on the same charges: Second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and armed criminal action.
Session pleaded guilty to the charges last November, and now is serving a 20-year prison sentence at the state Corrections department's Fulton Reception and Diagnostic Center.
Summers' case is set for a July 8 trial.
In his opening statement Tuesday, Richardson acknowledged Chase didn't fire the fatal shot, but planned the robbery where the killing occurred.
But Chase testified Wednesday he wasn't part of any robbery plan that Session and Summers had, and didn't know either had a gun.
Chase told the jury and Circuit Judge Dan Green it was coincidence, not planning, that Summers followed Chase into the apartment moments before the fatal shot was fired.
When the shooting began, Chase said, he ran out the front door.
Chase testified that Robert Summers - Khiry's brother - was Chase's "weed man," known as "June," who often sold marijuana to Chase.
But on April 21, "June" didn't have any marijuana for sale, so Chase got some of the drug from another supplier.
Chase told Richardson that supplier was not Mosley or Brent Slaughter, another Columbia man who sold the drug.
Lelani Old testified she and Slaughter drove to Jefferson City from Columbia that Saturday, after Slaughter was told in a phone call that some people were willing to buy marijuana from him.
Old said she met Chase for the first time when she and Slaughter reached the Buena Vista Street apartment where Chase's girlfriend, Danielle Coleman, lived with Rachel Mitchell.
Old said Chase originally wanted to buy a quarter pound of marijuana but agreed to two ounces, instead, when told the larger amount was not available.
When Mosely arrived later with the drugs, "Brandon said he had to get the money, his friends were getting it together and it would take some time," Old testified.
She also said Chase left the apartment "four to six times" during the day, to see about getting the money.
Chase later testified he had a little less than $200 with him - enough to buy some marijuana but not the high-quality drug Mosely was selling.
Mosely "brought drugs, for my knowledge, for Brent Slaughter," Chase testified. "While I was smoking my weed, Brent said, "I'm going to match you when my weed gets here.'"
Mitchell said Chase was not at the apartment when Mosely first arrived.
And, she said, Chase had not been interested in buying any drugs from Mosely - whose street name was "Lazy."
"When Brandon found out who Lazy was," Mitchell said, "he said he didn't want any drugs and told them to go back (to Columbia). They came anyway."
Richardson kept asking Mitchell if she remembered what she told investigators, and the Cole County grand jury, last April - because her testimony Wednesday was different from those statements 10 months ago.
Mitchell became defensive.
"I've had brain tumor surgery (since then), and I don't have all my short-term memory," she said. "You're asking me to remember every single thing that happened!"
She agreed with Old that Chase had said he wanted a quarter-pound of drugs, "and then he wanted two ounces - but that was during the day, not at night."
Chase said he had not been involved in any conversation like that.
Mitchell said she was sleeping in a downstairs room and escaped through a window when she heard the shots.
"When I came out the window, Brandon was running for his life, just like I was," Mitchell testified.