Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

C-Murder: Rapper Lives His Lyrics

The Defense Makes its Case

On September 26, more than two weeks into the trial, the defense began calling its slate of witnesses. Five of them were paraded before the court, all of whom testified that Corey was not the one who shot Steve Thomas.

Keshawn Scott, Alvin Mitchell and Krystal St. Cyr all said they saw the fight and heard the shot but they were not sure Corey did the shooting. They all said he was not among the group that was beating Thomas and none of them could describe the shooter. Two other witnesses, Vance LeFrance and Vanessa Henry, went further by saying they saw Corey and he was not at the fight scene. However, LeFrance and Henry differed as to where they saw Corey at the time. None of the defense witnesses said they saw security personnel trying to break up the fight.

Of the five, only Henry said she knew who Corey was and all of them said they had no connection to the Miller family or any of its businesses. Under cross-examination, Henry said she heard some of the combatants shouting "Calliope" and "C-P-3," obvious references to the housing project where Corey grew up. "C-P-3 was the name of one of his records.

When the trial resumed on Monday, September 29, the defense called four more witnesses — three men and a woman — to the stand. All of them vouched that Corey was not the murderer, though their accounts varied as to where Corey was when the fatal shot was fired. Hashim Smith said Corey was talking to the deejay and he made a brief announcement, plugging his latest album. Smith's friend, Condell Sullen, tapped him on the hand and called his attention to the fight and the shot was fired seconds later, Smith testified.

Sullen testified that he didn't hear Corey make an announcement but he said he saw the fight and concluded Corey wasn't involved because all of the men beating Thomas were shorter than the 6'4" Corey. Bianca Hansen testified that she saw Corey near the fight scene but he stepped away from it and couldn't have been the one doing the shooting. The day's final defense witness, Melvin Wilson, said he didn't see Corey at all that night and he would have recognized him if he had been in the group fighting Thomas.

Following their testimony, the defense rested, setting up closing arguments the following day.

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