MANATEE — Tytiki Washington remembers leaving her daughter before going to work.
The usual rules were in place.
“Stay in the house. Have no one in the house. Don’t be outside when it gets dark,” Washington said after she took the stand in her son’s murder trial Wednesday afternoon after two and a half days of jury selection.
But when she returned home that night Aug. 4, 2009, she saw her 15-year-old daughter Jametrea Washington in tears.
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“I saw my baby screaming and hollering,” Washington said.
And she found her 18-year-old son, Dejuan Williams, a star athlete and recent Bayshore High graduate, dying on top of his car where his three friends had placed his body. A single gunshot wound pierced his chest, killing him.
It was dark outside. She didn’t see any blood.
“I thought I felt a pulse. I thought he’ll be OK,” she said, recalling hearing the wails of an ambulance’s siren nearing her home.
A Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputy didn’t feel a pulse. He began compressions on Williams with Washington giving mouth to mouth on her son after they moved his body to the end of the driveway.
According to testimony, paramedics arrived on the scene and Williams had no pulse. He wasn’t breathing. He was taken to Manatee Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Byron Galloway, now 17, had already fled the scene and dumped the handgun at a friend’s home, according to prosecutors.
He is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Williams. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, if convicted.
Galloway was visiting Williams’ younger sister and shot Williams when he was confronted, according to Manatee sheriff deputies.
Jametrea Washington, now 16, Williams’ younger sister, also took the stand.
Jametrea had invited Galloway and his friend over to hang out with her and her friend, Danielle Johnson, despite her mother’s household rule.
The girls had the two boys come over to her house.
She said in court she met Galloway at the Boys & Girls Club when she was about 12 years old. At one point, she considered him a boyfriend. On that day, they were just friends though, she said.
At one point during the visit, Galloway’s phone rang. When he reached for it, the girls saw a handgun.
“That ain’t real,” she said.
But then she touched the gun and the bullets.
“Is it real? I felt it. It was heavy,” she said.
She would later sit with Galloway in the front room and even kiss him when Danielle and the other boy paired off to her room.
Williams, who was playing video games at a friend’s house, grew suspicious when he made a trip home unexpectedly to retrieve a book and saw Galloway and another boy walking down the street. He decided to return later with his three friends.
“My brother kept asking who was in the house,” said Jametrea, as her voice choked with fresh tears. “Danielle and I just looked at each other. We were nervous.”
Galloway and his friend fled the house through a window. Galloway was found by one of Williams’ friends hiding behind the shed.
Williams confronted Galloway in the backyard with a baseball bat, asking what he was doing in his house.
Galloway first apologized before the shooting, Assistant State Attorney Darlene Ragoonanan said in her opening statement.
“All of a sudden, his demeanor changes. He points that gun,” she said, making a gun with her hand and pointing at a jury of four women and three men. “He doesn’t point it up, and doesn’t point it down. He shoots Dejuan right in the chest.”
Galloway said, “Forget this,” and shot Williams with a gun from about 10 feet away, according to court documents.
Galloway then pointed the gun at Williams’ friend, Dakota Tracy, before running away.
“I’m going to ask you to hold the defendant accountable for his actions,” Ragoonanan said.
Mark Lipinski, a defense attorney who is representing Galloway, painted a different picture — one of a scared boy — in opening statements.
“These boys were older, faster and stronger,” Lipinski said. “He was hiding because he couldn’t get over the fence. ... He was hoping not to be found. He didn’t want to hurt anybody. ... All he could focus on was that bat and what the others were saying to him. He was scared to death.”
He questioned Tracy about the boys’ intentions as they went to Williams’ residence for confrontation.
Lipinski asked if there were any reports of anyone being hurt or sexually assaulted.
Tracy said no.
Lipinski told jurors this is a case of self defense.
“He truly believed he was about to be beat up on his 140-pound body,” Lipinski argued. “We talked about self defense, ladies and gentleman. You may not actually like he had a gun, but he acted in self defense.”
Jametrea, who was near the front of the house, was standing with Danielle when they heard the gunshot.
She remembers Danielle saying over and over, “Your brother. He shot your brother. Your brother is dead.”
Jametrea said she rushed to the backyard, which was dark, searching for her brother.
“I tried to shake him. He wouldn’t get up. His eyes was rolling back in his head,” she said.
Williams’ friends pushed her away. They carried Williams and laid him on his car.
“They was walking around, but they didn’t know what to do,” Jametrea said. Someone dialed 911 on a cell phone.
Jametrea said she touched her brother again to try to shake him and his blood smeared on her hand.
The bullet had ripped a hole in his aorta and lungs, according to testimony from a forensic pathologist.
She saw Galloway run and get into a car shortly after. He was arrested a day later.
Before opening statements and testimony began Wednesday, a juror was dismissed after allegations she was talking with a member of Galloway’s family during lunch. A bailiff witnessed the incident and reported it to Circuit Judge Gilbert Smith in the courtroom before the trial started.
Attorneys agreed to dismiss the juror on the mere appearance of family members speaking with the juror.
The trial is expected to continue today.