WALKER, Mich. (WOOD) — The family of a man shot and killed in Walker testified Friday during the preliminary hearing for the teen accused of murder.
The teen, who is being tried as an adult, sat in court as attorneys worked to establish enough evidence to try him for murder. The hearing started around 9:30 a.m., with attorneys expecting to question six witnesses. News 8 is not identifying the witnesses at this time.
The first person to take the stand was the victim’s wife, who says she was in an upstairs bedroom throughout the events that led to her husband’s death.
The victim’s wife said she and her husband were living with her son and daughter after falling on hard times. She said that on April 2, the two were bickering about the stress of their financial situation. As her daughter, who was in a nearby room, began to intervene, the victim’s wife says her husband went outside to walk their dog. She said that after he didn’t return several minutes later, she went downstairs to find two of her daughter’s friends acting strange.
She said a short while later, Mansfield, who she had never met before, burst through their front door in a frantic state. She says she yelled and asked them to leave. She said when she followed them outside, police were pulling up to a report of shots fired. At that point, she still did not know where her husband was but noticed their dog wandering on its own.
“I opened my slider door and I put my dog … on the deck and I went to go out there and I saw him laying there looking like he was sleeping and he wasn’t moving,” tearful witness said as she recalled finding her husband’s body in the backyard.
She told the court she never heard a gunshot.
The court also heard from the victim’s stepdaughter, whose story varied a bit from her mother’s.
She said around 4:40 p.m. that afternoon, she was doing her makeup in the upstairs bathroom, expecting friends to pick her and her boyfriend up to go to the mall. She says her mom and stepdad were in an upstairs room of their duplex apartment arguing about a cellphone. The witness said she went to see what was going on.
“When I get into my room, my mom is laying on the bed crying and Damone is packing his suitcase,” she explained.
The witness said that as Hammock began to leave the room, her mother asked her to get a cellphone from him. She said she followed Hammock all the way to the front of the home but he refused to return the phone. She said as she went back and forth with her stepdad, her boyfriend was standing nearby.
“From there, Damone shoves me. I don’t fall to the ground. I don’t have marks on me but he shoved me enough to where my boyfriend (says), ‘Don’t touch her, bro’ and shoves him back,” she recalled.
She said their three male friends, including Mansfield, who had just arrived at the home to take them to the mall, got out of their car. She says there was a scuffle between the group of men and her stepdad that quickly escalated.
The witness said some of the men chased Hammock to the backyard and there was a loud noise like a gunshot. She said when Mansfield returned to the front yard, he was distraught.
“I remember grabbing his face and he was crying. He was teary-eyed, he wasn’t bawling. He was teary-eyed and he was like saying, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry’ and I asked him what happened. I don’t recall what was said but he was just saying, ‘I’m sorry,'” the witness said.
She also noted that she saw something in Marshall’s waistband but could not say if it was a gun.
The court also heard from two other witnesses who were friends of the defendant but some of their testimony differed from initial police statements regarding who was directly involved in the fight. One of the two witnesses’ testimony was cut short while the judge advised him of potential perjury charges.
The hearing was adjourned around 12:30 p.m. Two witnesses, including the person who was advised about perjury, and a detective are expected to testify when the hearing resumes June 11.
From there, the judge can decide if there’s enough evidence against Mansfield to go to trial.