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Murder trial witness describes gang activity

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POSTED: October 16, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Photo by Lauren Hunsberger/

Eddie Goodwin (right) sits by Georgia public Defender's Chief Conflict Defender Stephen Yekel as key witnesses testify.

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Day two of murder suspect Eddie Kodnell Goodwin's trial proceeded Tuesday as key eyewitnesses, detectives, and police officers took the stand.
The jurors and about 20 people sat in the courtroom as witnesses gave their accounts of the night of Jan. 16, when Deterell Esque Jackson was shot to death outside an Alston Ridge mobile home.
Rajiv Robert Laurent, who also was a suspect at the beginning of the investigation, took the stand just before noon and described the outcome of a cocaine drug deal gone wrong.
According to Laurent, 23, Goodwin approached him because he thought Laurent had sold him bad cocaine days earlier. Laurent said he told Goodwin he hadn't sold him bad cocaine and an argument ensued. Laurent said Goodwin stepped toward him so Laurent shoved Goodwin and then flashed a gun that was tucked in his pants.
Laurent said Goodwin then produced a gun and shot about five times at Laurent's friend, Jackson. Laurent admits to then opening fire on Goodwin with his .22 automatic.
"I emptied the clip shooting back at him," said Laurent, who was open with the court about his gang affiliation, violent past and the 10-year prison sentence he’s currently serving. "I've sold dope, shot people, robbed people. I'm not claiming to be innocent," Laurent said.
Laurent also said on record that he was confident enough of Goodwin’s guilt that he planned to avenge his friend’s death a few days later by packing a suitcase, killing Goodwin and hopping a bus to California. However, police arrested him before he could carry out his plan.
Hinesville Police Detective Elizabeth Jackson provided key testimony, giving Assistant District Attorney Mark Hendricks and Georgia Public Defenders Chief Conflict Defender Stephen Yekel information pertaining to the crime scene and evidence found.
Evidence included a number of bullet shells and bloody clothes with bullet holes in them that were found on Jackson's body.
Lt. Rhett Dill also took the stand, describing the discovery the morning after the shooting of more shells at the scene.
The third and likely final day of the trial is today.

 

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