The first-degree murder case against Horace L. Amerson centers on Markus L. Walker's account of the slaying of Jarrod Maxwell outside a Family Dollar store.
The scenario provided by Markus L. Walker changed several times over the course of an eight-hour interrogation, Chris Gordon, an Omaha police detective, testified in court Friday.
But Douglas County Judge Marcela Keim ruled that the account provided enough evidence to try Amerson on charges of first-degree murder, use of a weapon to commit a felony and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.
Maxwell, 36, was shot March 8 inside his vehicle.
Gordon provided the following account of his interview with Walker in the hours after the shooting:
Walker, 28, told police that a woman he knew lent him a car at a convenience store. He drove around, drank gin and smoked marijuana.
About the time of the shooting, Walker told police, he drove by the Family Dollar near 30th Street and Newport Avenue.
As he took note of a commotion near the store, a man in dark clothing jumped into his car. The man told Walker that he needed a ride to his aunt's house because there had just been a shooting.
Walker said the man put a gun in his ribs and told him to drive.
As Gordon talked with Walker in one interview room, police had Cardella D. Womack in another.
Womack, 38, had called police at some point March 8 to report the theft of her rental car. She later told police that she had lent the car to a man she knew as "Doobie."
Womack picked Amerson out of a photo lineup as the man to whom she lent the car.
Walker also was shown the photo lineup. Gordon said Walker became visibly shaken, and even threw up a bit, while reviewing the lineup. Walker initially denied recognizing anyone.
Gordon continued to press and asked Walker if he could pick out "D" — the man he said was in the car with him. Walker nodded and identified Amerson in the lineup.
Walker told Gordon that he and "D" met at a barbershop near Northwest Radial and that "D" drove the rental car, eventually ending up near the Family Dollar.
Walker said "D" pulled the car over just north of the store, got out and opened fire on a car in the lot. The bullets struck Maxwell in the head.
Walker said he slipped into the driver's seat and "D" got in the passenger seat. They sped away, crashed with another vehicle and eventually stopped near 42nd Street and Himebaugh Avenue.
Walker told Gordon that as he drove from the scene, "D" tossed the gun onto his lap. The two played "hot potato" with the gun, which eventually ended up back in Walker's lap. After the car stopped, "D" got out and eluded police at the scene.
The driver's side door wouldn't open, so Walker also fled through the passenger side door. But he was apprehended — right after police saw him toss the .40-caliber gun. Tests later showed it was the weapon used in Maxwell's slaying.
Walker's DNA was found on the gun, along with some unidentified DNA, Gordon testified. Police still are waiting for test results from a DNA swab taken from Amerson, who turned himself in to police six months after the shooting.
Walker, an admitted drug dealer with gang ties, previously was ordered to stand trial on charges of first-degree murder, possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited person and operating a motor vehicle to avoid arrest in connection with Maxwell's death. He also is charged with possession of cocaine.
Womack has been ordered to stand trial on a charge of being an accessory.
Gordon said police haven't determined why Maxwell was shot.
Friends of Maxwell have suggested that the shooting was a case of mistaken identity. Amerson's brother, Jonas Amerson, was shot and killed March 7, 2010, in an unsolved gang-related slaying.
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