Prosecution calls last two witnesses

Apr. 01, 2014 @ 09:56 PM

State prosecutors rested their case Tuesday in the trial of Jaquareus Holden, the 18-year-old charged with shooting his mother, Letitia Hammond.

She was found in a pool of blood on June 15, 2011, after being fatally shot six times in her home at 710 S. Carolina Ave. in Henderson.

One of the last witnesses called was a computer forensic expert from the State Bureau of Investigation that testified Holden had sent text messages suggesting he knew more about the missing murder weapon than he reported to police.

Chad Evans read multiple conversations from June 2011 between Holden and Bria White, his girlfriend at the time. White's phone number was saved in the phone as 'wifey.' The couple, who met on the school bus, had started dating earlier that year.

Evans said he recovered a total of 823 text messages from the phone, including 390 received messages, 433 sent messages and five messages containing images.

One image on the cell phone depicted a young black male gripping a small handgun in the mirror. The state prosecutors identified the individual in the photo as Holden.

A text message from Holden sent June 6, 2011, read: "Me too lol nd my mama nem noticed the gun was missing."

A text from from 'wifey' read: "What was they saying?"

Holden sent a text three minutes later. In it, Holden said his mother told him to return the gun, referencing it belonged to Timmy Kingsberry, her boyfriend. Holden’s text also said he didn’t’ answer when she tried to call.

Kingsberry testified last week that he stowed a gun beneath his mattress at the 710 S. Carolina Ave. home. He said the gun was inexplicably removed from the mattress a few weeks before Hammond was murdered.

The weapon used to kill Hammond was never located by police, but officers collected bullets from a .32 automatic handgun, which is the same type of gun Kingsberry stored in the home.

Evans presented a message Holden sent on June 11, 2011. His message indicated his mother changed plans for her and one of Holden’s sisters, Courtney, to go to a graduation ceremony. A minute later, he texted that his mother was starting to wish bad things on herself.

The last state witness was Jonathan Privette, a pathologist with the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. He conducted the autopsy performed on Hammond.

Privette said he believed she died as a result of gunshot wounds to the head and chest. According to his testimony, he said Hammond sustained six gunshot injuries: two located on her left forearm, two on her left back, one on her back neck and one behind her left earlobe.

He said he could indicate which direction the bullet travelled when it entered the body, but he could not tell the position of the individual when they sustained the injuries.

 

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.