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Prosecution makes case in Beckley murder trial

UPDATE: The prosecution continued to make its case against Tremaine Jackson on Tuesday. The defendant is on trial for the murder of Troy Williams in the Beckley Pet Supplies Plus parking lot on May 6, 2020.

During the afternoon session, Raleigh County Assistant Prosecutor Brian Parsons called Latoya Carter to the stand. She's one of the three women who traveled from Charleston to Beckley with Jackson in an attempt to execute a fake drug deal with Williams.

During questioning by the prosecution, Carter acknowledged that she had entered into a plea agreement with the state in exchange for her testimony. She testified that she had been in discussions with Jackson earlier on May 6, 2020, and had made plans with him to go to Beckley to meet Williams, purchase rock salt, and "get one over on him."

Once Williams sat down in her rental car in the lot of Pet Supplies Plus in Beckley to test the rock salt, Carter testified that the female in the backseat put a gun to his head. At that point, Carter said she told Williams to get out of the car and both Jackson and Williams left. She then testified that she heard a shot fired.

When Jackson got back into the car for the drive to Charleston, Carter said there were discussions about where Williams was shot and she was informed "in the chest."

During cross-examination, Jackson's attorney, Kris Kostenko, attempted to punch holes in Carter's credibility, questioning her on inconsistencies in her earlier statements relating to whether Jackson said he would have to shoot Williams if things turned upside down.

Beckley Police Sgt. Morgan Bragg, the lead investigator on the case, is expected to take the stand next.


BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) The prosecution and defense offered a glimpse into the case they plan to make as a murder trial in Beckley gets underway.

Tremaine Jackson is on trial for the shooting death of Troy Williams in the Pet Supply Plus parking lot in Beckley on May 6, 2020.

During opening statements, Raleigh County Assistant Prosecutor Brian Parsons laid out his case against Jackson, saying the defendant, along with three other women, traveled from Charleston to Beckley in a white Ford rental car to execute a fake drug deal with Williams.

The four were caught on camera multiple times during that journey, said Parsons, including during a stop in Kanawha City in which one of the females in the car purchased rock salt. He said cell phone records between Williams and Jackson will show that Jackson was attempting to pass off the salt as $6,000 worth of methamphetamine.

After arriving in Beckley, Parsons said Jackson and the three women had planned to meet Williams at Walmart, but decided to move to the Pet Supplies Plus lot when they saw that the Walmart lot was under surveillance. That's where he said Williams got part way into the back of the vehicle and insisted on trying the product before handing over the money. When Williams learned he had been deceived, Parsons said another female in the car put a gun to his head and demanded he pay anyway. Parson said his evidence will show that when Williams refused, Jackson took over outside the car and fired the shot that took Williams' life.

Jackson's attorney Kris Kostenko fought back on those claims during opening statements, saying the case will not meet the burden of proof that Jackson was in fact the shooter. He said the evidence will show there is enough reasonable doubt as to the identity of the shooter to result in an acquittal.

As one of its first witnesses, the state called Trooper Nicholas Booth to the stand. Trooper Booth was off-duty at the time and leaving Walmart with his wife when he heard the shot go off and responded to the scene. He said he administered pressure to William's wound while calling for back-up.

Cpl. Timothy Hughes was the first law enforcement officer on duty to arrive. He testified that while he could hear Williams say "I'm going to die. I'm going to die," the victim did not identify his shooter. Cpl. Hughes then said he worked to secure the scene and interview witnesses as Trooper Booth attended to Williams' medical needs.

A witness who had been shopping at the store around the time of the shooting also took the stand on Tuesday, testifying that she was almost t-boned by a white car in an erratic attempt to leave the lot. After seeing another grey vehicle with its emergency lights on, the witness thought there was a possibility the white car had been involved in a hit and run and decided to take pictures of the car leaving the lot.

The lead investigator on the case, Beckley Police Det. Sgt. Morgan Bragg, is expected to testify when court resumes at 1:30 p.m.

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Annie Moore

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