Trial: DA says Terrence Armstrong ‘just wanted to shoot at some folks’
Charged with second degree murder for Oct. 20. 2020 shooting death of Edwin Davidson, Jr.
RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB) - Witness testimony is underway in the Rapides Parish courthouse for the second degree murder trial of Terrence Armstrong, 25, of Alexandria, for the Oct. 20, 2020, deadly shooting of Edwin Davidson, Jr., 17, at a home on Orchard Loop in Wardville.
Armstrong is one of five people who were charged in connection to the case. According to the Pineville Police Department, the shooting was tied to an earlier narcotics transaction that police emphasized Davidson was not involved in.
Two suspects, Pamela Smith and Kaitlyn Carlino, both pleaded guilty in 2021 to conspiracy to commit second degree murder. Smith was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Carlino will be sentenced after all of the cases conclude.
Another suspect, Andrew Mayo, was found guilty by a Rapides Parish jury of second degree murder last year.
A final suspect, Tyrone Compton, who is also charged with second degree murder, will head to trial on May 15, 2023.
Assistant District Attorney Lea Hall is prosecuting Armstrong’s case. Armstrong is represented by Christopher LaCour. Judge Greg Beard is presiding.
Thursday, March 2, 2023, noon update:
During his opening arguments to the jury, Assistant District Attorney Lea Hall called Davidson’s death a “revenge killing.” But, he emphasized that there were other factors at play.
Hall said that ahead of the deadly drive-by shooting that killed Davidson, there was a drug transaction that had happened the previous evening involving the purchase of Xanax. That purchase didn’t involve Terrence Armstrong, but did involve the other suspects who were in the vehicle investigators said was involved in the drive-by on Orchard Loop in Wardville.
The group - Tyrone Compton, Andrew Mayo, Kaitlyn Carlino, and Pamela Smith - had gone to meet with a person known as ‘Lee Jack’ to purchase 12 Xanax pills for $90. They had pooled their money.
Davidson was a passenger in a vehicle with ‘Lee Jack.’
After the purchase was made, the group noticed there were only five Xanax pills, and the rest was wadded up paper.
“Edwin Davidson wasn’t the guy who shorted anyone Xanax,” said Hall. “They didn’t even kill the right guy.”
Hall said the deal was made outside of a store. After the group realized they had been shorted, they initially tried to follow ‘Lee Jack’s’ vehicle, but ended up at Compton’s home. Hall said that’s when a plan came together to go to the home on Orchard Loop where they believed ‘Lee Jack’ was.
“They’re going to go over there and shoot up a house on Orchard Loop,” said Hall.
Compton called Armstrong, who was a friend, to join them. They all piled into Carlino’s car. Smith drove and Carlino was in the passenger seat. Hall said Compton, Mayo and Armstrong were in the back and all three had guns.
“There were at least three guns used in this case,” said Hall.
Hall said Ring doorbell video from down the street would capture flashes from the shots.
The car drove by the house and multiple shots were fired, many of them hitting the house low. Davidson happened to be in the house.
“The bullet that hits (Davidson’s) head, Mayo pulled that trigger,” said Hall.
Davidson died at the scene. We also learned that there were two small children in the house at the time of the shooting, which Pineville Police said was at about 1 a.m. on Oct. 20, 2020.
“Mr. Armstrong wasn’t involved in the transaction,” Hall told the jury. “He just showed up because he wanted to shoot at some folks.”
During defense attorney Christopher LaCour’s opening statements to the jury, LaCour questioned Davidson’s involvement in the drug deal, saying, “If you engage in the sale of drugs and you rob people, bad things happen.”
“They say the victim wasn’t involved,” said LaCour to the jury. “Why were you there?”
LaCour also told the jury that evidence would show there were large amounts of money in the Orchard Loop house and money on Davidson’s body.
“It’s my belief Edwin had to know what was going on,” said LaCour. “They did the deal right in front of him.”
LaCour believes the statements from the other people in the car just aren’t credible and the Ring video won’t show anyone’s identity.
“We’re relying on the truth of the statements of young drug addicts,” he said.
Thursday, March 2, 2023, 12:35 p.m. update:
We heard from three witnesses before the lunch break. The first was Davidson’s mother, Shanae Henderson. Henderson told the jury that her son was expecting a baby when he was killed, who was born a month after he died.
She showed up to the Orchard Loop house the night her son was killed because she got a call from her son’s girlfriend.
“He’s gone. He’s dead. Somebody shot him,” she recalled on the stand of that call.
Henderson was asked about her son’s job history. She said he had worked at Cane’s. She also denied his involvement with drugs.
We next heard from Sgt. Vincent Deville with the Pineville Police Department, who responded to the scene. When police got to the house, he said they found two people inside who were “inconsolable.” Initially, it was hard to get information from them.
Inside the house, Deville found Davidson’s body. He had been shot in the head and was dead at the scene. He told the jury that the front of the house had bullet holes, as did the garage. He said multiple rounds entered the house.
Our third witness was Dr. Yen Van Vo, a forensic pathologist. She confirmed that Davidson was killed by a gunshot wound to the head. There was some discussion of toxicology reports and substances found in Davidson’s system, to which she said could have been illegal or prescribed - she couldn’t make that determination.
Thursday, March 2, 2023, 3 p.m. update:
After a lunch break, the next State witness on the stand was Sgt. Jared Bennett with the Pineville Police Department. Bennett is a crime scene investigator.
Bennett showed the jury multiple photos of the crime scene house on Orchard Loop and said there were “multiple bullet strikes.”
Some of the photos shown to the jury included photos of the bullet strikes, the front door of the house, shell casings from a rifle and pistol, and Davidson’s body. He was shot in the head and in a pool of blood inside of the home.
Bennett told the jury that Davidson had what he considered a large amount of money on him. He initially estimated between $300-400. But, during cross examination from LaCour, who referenced Bennett’s report, it was actually $790.
Bennett told the jury that a handgun was turned into the Pineville Police Department during the investigation.
LaCour asked Bennett about some of his photos of shell casings found outside of the home and questioned their proximity to the home. Bennett said they were related to the crime scene.
LaCour also showed the jury of a vehicle parked in the driveway of the home with had a stolen shotgun inside. But, we didn’t learn where the gun came from or who the car belonged to.
During redirect questioning from Hall, surveillance video was played from the Orchard Loop neighborhood that showed the drive-by shooting take place. In it, you can see flashes coming from the vehicle, but you can’t make out who is inside.
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