URBANA — An employee of a car detailing shop in Urbana identified Ardis Fenn, 23, as the man who shot his co-worker last spring at their business after another man patted the co-worker down looking for something.
Tommy Lee Jackson testified that he didn't immediately tell Urbana police that it was Fenn who shot Curtis "O.B." Mosley outside Above & Beyond Detailing, 708 E. Main St., on June 12. But it didn't take him long to come forward.
"I didn't want to get involved at first," said Jackson, 52, who was working at the detailing shop with Mr. Mosley, 29, that day.
"Then I thought it was the right thing to do. I did know who fired the gun," said Jackson, who said he was "shaken" by the incident and wasn't immediately sure if Fenn was shooting at Mr. Mosley or him. Both he and Mr. Mosley ran in different directions when they saw Fenn with a .22-caliber rifle.
Jackson's testimony came Tuesday during Fenn's second trial on a charge of aggravated battery with a firearm for allegedly shooting Mr. Mosley in the leg and buttocks on June 12.
The trial began on Feb. 4, but was interrupted when Mr. Mosley was fatally shot in his apartment at 1102 E. Colorado Ave., U, about 8:30 that night. Mr. Mosley's girlfriend and her mother identified Fenn as the shooter but he was at large until Feb. 6, when he turned himself in.
Police said a man working on Fenn's behalf offered a bribe to Mr. Mosley on Feb. 4 about 7:30 p.m. to keep him from testifying at Fenn's trial. Mr. Mosley rejected the offer and was dead about an hour later.
Fenn's trial resumed Thursday but Judge Tom Difanis declared a mistrial after three jurors said they had been exposed to news reports while they were away that would make it difficult for them to be fair to Fenn.
Difanis started the trial over on Monday with a fresh pool of about 50 jurors. Assistant Public Defender Stephanie Corum asked for a change of place of trial but Difanis said he'd reserve ruling until after they at least tried to pick a jury.
Ten jurors were selected Monday. The remaining two jurors and three alternates were picked Tuesday morning. Several told the judge that they had read or heard about the events of last week and were excused.
Assistant State's Attorney Steve Ziegler then put on nine witnesses for the state. The testimony of Mr. Mosley is expected to come in Wednesday through a police detective who interviewed him. Difanis ruled last week that because of Mr. Mosley's death, his hearsay statements would be admissible.
Jackson said he and Mr. Mosley were the only ones at the business when Fenn and the other man came around 4:30 p.m. Owner Derrick Winfield had gone to the store for cleaning products.
The men all knew Fenn because he lived next door to the car wash on Main Street with his grandmother and had formerly worked at the detailing shop.
Winfield testified he had to fire Fenn because he "didn't want to work" but Fenn continued to visit the business infrequently. On the day of Mr. Mosley's shooting, Fenn had been there in the early afternoon, he said.
Jackson said he saw Fenn come from behind the business and point the rifle at Mr. Mosley.
"He told him to 'low it'," Jackson said, clarifying that he meant for Mr. Mosley to give up whatever he had.
Fenn then had the other man with him pat Mr. Mosely down.
As Fenn pointed the gun at Mr. Mosley, Mr. Mosley flipped a nearby picnic table up and he and Jackson ran in different directions.
"I wasn't hit. He said he was hit," Jackson testified, recounting how Mr. Mosley ran to the west to the Auto Zone store.
Urbana police Sgt. Adam Chacon, the first officer to arrive, found Mr. Mosley in the parking lot of Auto Zone, 606 E. Main St., bleeding from his leg and talking on his cell phone. Chacon said he quickly determined that the shooting had happened at the car wash.
Chacon testified he found a shell casing near the car wash building and Officer Oscar Gamble found two more in the same general area shortly after. The officers also testified about following a trail of blood down the red brick sidewalk in front of Fenn's home toward the Auto Zone parking lot.
Former Officer Byron Ebbert said he found two bags of cannabis in the bushes near where Chacon first saw Mr. Mosley following the shooting. Ebbert said it appeared like it had intentionally been placed there. Ebbert said he also took Mr. Mosley's shorts, with cash still in the pockets, into evidence after the shooting.
Ziegler was expected to wrap up his presentation of evidence by midday Wednesday.