Jury decision expected in trial over shooting incident
URBANA — An Urbana man who was shot at in his own neighborhood last fall was certain that the man firing at him was Andre Winters.
A Champaign County jury is expected to decide Thursday if Winters, 28, whose last known address was in the 2000 block of Cynthia Drive, Champaign, is guilty of aggravated discharge of a firearm and being an armed habitual criminal.
The charges stemmed from an early morning incident on Oct. 12 in east Urbana in which Ernest Mosley, 43, was fired at about 2:30 a.m. while at a friend's home around the corner from where he lived.
Mosley, a part-time bouncer at Bradley's, testified Tuesday in Winters' trial before Judge Tom Difanis that he had earlier been at the High Dive bar in downtown Champaign visiting with friends when he came across Winters, whom he knew from his work at Bradley's.
Mosley said Winters and some of his friends had gotten into a scuffle with some other people at the High Dive. The two exchanged words near the door as they were leaving.
"I shook my head and said, 'You need to grow up' and he told me, "... You are not at Bradley's. You need to move around. I got some hot ones for you,'" Mosley recounted.
Mosley explained that he took the threat to mean that he could be shot. He said he headed home but stopped first at the High Street house of a neighbor who was entertaining folks in his open garage.
Mosley said he had been there about a half-hour when he saw a car go past quickly and stop in front of his house around the corner. A second car, a green Lincoln he recognized, pulled up behind it and two more cars in quick succession stopped behind the Lincoln.
Concerned about why a car would be in front of his home where his family, including two children were, he headed to the end of the neighbor's driveway.
It was then, Mosley said, that he saw Winters get out of the passenger side of the green Lincoln, raise a gun and fire in his direction.
Mosley said Winters called him a name and said, "Don't run now," but Mosley took off running after seeing a muzzle flash. He then heard two more shots as he ran south through back yards to another home on Illinois Street. He was not hit by gunfire.
Asked by prosecutor Troy Lozar if he knew the shooter, Mosley said he was certain it was Winters.
"I seen him just as clear as I see these people," Mosley said, pointing at the jury just feet from him. "I recognized the voice. I hear his voice all the time. He's been coming out to my job (at Bradley's) for two years. I have no doubt" it was him.
Under questioning by Assistant Public Defender Jamie Propps, Mosley conceded there were no street lights in the area that cloudy morning but maintained the combination of yard lights and the headlights from the four cars that pulled into the neighborhood gave him a clear view of Winters. He said he also recognized the green Lincoln as belonging to a man who grew up in the same neighborhood as he had.
Champaign County Sheriff's Deputy Richard Ferriman, who responded to the call, said he found Mosley "very shaken up" in the 2600 block of High Street. Ferriman said Mosley was cooperative but excited and it took him asking a few questions to figure out what had happened. He said Mosley denied having any recent confrontations with Winters prior to the shooting.
Ferriman said he recovered three .380-caliber shell casings but could find no evidence that any cars or houses in the area had been hit.
Investigator Dwayne Roelfs said he questioned Winters about 13 hours after the shooting and Winters denied any knowledge of it. Roelfs testified that deputies found a case for a gun in Winters' Champaign home but no gun.
Roelfs also explained to the jury about tracking the cellphone calls made from Winters' phone from about 2:23 a.m. to 2:35 a.m. that day and discovered that the phone followed a path from the downtown Champaign area, north to Interstate 74 then east to Urbana and back south.