Fellow inmates with the defendant in a Cole County murder case testified Wednesday he had told them he had chased the victim through an alley and shot him.
Dana Day Jr., 31, of Jefferson City, is charged with felony murder, first-degree assault and second- degree assault in the shooting death of Taveeon Fowler, 23, of Jefferson City, on the night of May 8, 2017, near the 700 block of Monroe Street in Jefferson City.
Orlando Strickland, who was incarcerated with Day in the Cole County Jail, testified Wednesday, which was the third day of the trial.
Strickland said the two talked about why they were in jail and, in one of their conversations, Day told him his sister had contacted him about her boyfriend cheating on her. Strickland said Day told him he had chased the man down through an ally and shot him.
Strickland testified as part of an agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office in a federal case for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Strickland said he might get some leniency if he testified, but there was no guarantee. He said he is currently looking at 17 years in federal prison.
During cross examination, Day's attorney, Public Defender Kevin O'Brien, said Strickland's brother, James Sanders, also knew Day. O'Brien said Sanders and Day had a falling-out while in the jail and after the two had a confrontation. O'Brien said that was when Strickland decided to talk to authorities about what he had heard from Day.
Sanders told Prosecutor Locke Thompson he was at his mother's house in the 300 block 0f East Dunklin Street on the night of the shooting. Sanders said he had been asleep, woke up and looked out to the backyard, where he saw someone running through the area. Sanders' mother, who is a nurse, went out to the man and called an ambulance, he said. Sanders said he later learned it was Fowler whom he had seen.
After this, Sanders said, his mother told him to take his young nephew, who was also staying at her house, to his sister's house because his mother was supposed to drop him off.
Sanders talked about his time with Day and Strickland in the Cole County Jail. Sanders said Day talked about his sister having fights with her boyfriend and that Day had said she met a man on Dunklin Street and (Day) and others met. They got into a fight with the man in the car with Day's sister and struggled to pull him out of the car, Sanders said, and Day said they beat the man and then Day shot him.
During cross examination, O'Brien told Sanders authorities had said that during his first interview, Sanders said it was afternoon when the crime took place and Jefferson City Police Department Detective Ambler had told him that the shooting occurred at night. O'Brien also noted Sanders had told authorities he saw Day after the shooting. Sanders said Wednesday that he had seen Day in a car after the shooting as he was taking his nephew to his sister's house. Sanders also said he didn't know Day was involved in the shooting at the time he saw him.
Sanders is currently in custody for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Sanders said the federal prosecutor hasn't offered any deal to him, as he is waiting to be sentenced.
Also testifying Wednesday was Tyrone Carr, who told Thompson he had talked with Day in 2017, about a week after the shooting. Carr said Day had talked about a man cheating on Day's sister.
"He said he smoked him," Carr testified.
Carr said he had told Day he needed to stop talking about the incident. Carr said Day told him "he wasn't worried about it." Carr testified that Day had said the person he shot was trying to get away.
Carr is currently incarcerated on federal drug charges. Thompson said Carr gave testimony on this case to a Cole County Grand Jury under an arrangement made with former Prosecutor Mark Richardson. Carr said Wednesday he hoped his testimony might help him and he was worried about retaliation.
During cross examination, O'Brien showed Carr a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, which had a list of individuals Carr would cooperate in testifying against. Carr noted the agreement was not connected to this particular case. O'Brien asked Carr how many times he had "snitched" on the stand, and Carr said one other time. His agreement with federal prosecutors has reduced his sentence from 10 years to six years in federal prison.
Prosecutors also called Terry Sims to the stand, who also served time in the Cole County Jail with Day and had an agreement to testify in this case.
Sims said Day had told him he used a 40-caliber gun to do the shooting. He testified he believed Day's story was true.
During cross examination, O'Brien said Sims and Day had arguments in jail. Sims said Day had threatened to kill him while they were in jail. O'Brien said Sims had asked to be moved from the area in the jail with Day and that was why he worked with authorities.
Ambler took the stand Wednesday afternoon. He said the police had no contact with Fowler before the shooting.
After the shooting, Ambler said, police wanted to talk with Day' sister, Nyarrius Day, who authorities had learned was the last person to see Fowler alive. Her vehicle was found at her aunt's home and towed to the Police Department.
Ambler said Nyarrius Day had denied consent to search the car, so they applied for a search warrant. Ambler said they found Fowler's cellphone in the vehicle and didn't think it was a coincidence.
First Assistant Prosecutor Scott Fox earlier said that on the night of the crime, Nyarrius Day, who is Fowler's ex-girlfriend, was driving a car with Fowler in the passenger seat. Fox claimed Nyarrius Day and Fowler were exchanging money he owed her and Dana Day opened the driver's door and pulled Fowler across Nyarrius Day's lap. Eventually the two were involved in a struggle outside the vehicle and Fowler was shot, allegedly by Dana Day.
Dana Day was not known as a suspect early in the investigation, Ambler said, and Nyarrius Day did not implicate him.
Ambler created a flyer that was later posted in the Police Department booking area and Cole County Jail to encourage people to talk about the case and generate information. Ambler said the flyer helped develop leads, including Tyrone Carr and some confidential informants who testified before the Cole County Grand Jury. Nyarrius Day also eventually contacted Ambler and came in for an interview. Ambler said it also led police to eyewitnesses Leandre Williams and Sequita Bradford, who testified Tuesday in the trial as witnesses for the prosecution.
Testimony is scheduled to continue today; the trial is expected to last through Friday.