MURPHYSBORO — One of the men who was shot on March 27, 2016, took the stand Friday in the murder trial of a Cape Girardeau man in the 2016 shooting death of a Carbondale musician.
John A. Logan College student Nehemiah Greenlee, 26, testified for the state against Travis Tyler, 23, regarding incidents that happened at Hangar 9 and at 402 W. Walnut St., in the early hours of Easter Sunday 2016.
Tyler is charged with first-degree murder, aggravated battery with a firearm and aggravated discharge of a firearm. The charges stem from a the shooting that took place during a house party at 402 W. Walnut St. Tim Beaty, 41, was home in his apartment next door at 334 W. Walnut St. when he was killed by a stray bullet.
Along with Greenlee’s testimony, witnesses and friends of Greenlee, Southern Illinois University Carbondale student Anthony Jones and former SIUC student Joshua Bell shared similar stories Friday about what happened on that night in 2016.
Greenlee said there was an altercation at Hangar 9 in Carbondale, which was quickly broken up by security at the bar. The incident didn’t turn physical there, but later, while at 402 W. Walnut St., the same individuals got into a physical altercation.
He said shortly after the fight happened, an individual identified as “Wale” fired shots into the floor. In opening arguments Tuesday, Assistant State’s Attorney Casey Bloodworth said Daniel Holmes was the individual shooting into the floor.
Holmes is charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm and reckless discharge of a firearm in this incident. He has a jury trial set for May 7 in Jackson County.
Greenlee testified that after the shooting, people at the party scattered, attempting to run out of the front and back doors. After the dust cleared and most people were out of the living room, Greenlee and Jones shut and locked the front door because Greenlee said they didn’t want anybody else getting into the house.
Shortly after the door was shut, Greenlee testified Tyler exited a bedroom and attempted to leave out of the front door. Jones and Greenlee both testified Friday that Jones opened the door for Tyler, and, while he was leaving the house, Tyler pushed Jones.
Greenlee testified he got into an argument with Tyler because of the push, adding that he said, “You didn’t have to push him like that.”
According to testimony, at this point, Greenlee, Jones and Tyler were all outside of the house. Greenlee said the defendant was acting as if he had a gun, but never actually showed a gun. Jones’ testimony was that he could see the handle of a gun near the waist of Tyler.
Later testimony by Greenlee said he never saw a gun on Tyler at this point in the evening.
After this argument occurred, Greenlee said the defendant crossed the street and ran down South Beveridge Street to a Dodge Charger. Greenlee said he saw Tyler open the trunk of the vehicle, and within 30 to 40 seconds he began hearing gunshots.
He said he heard at least four shots, and the "first couple" were aimed at him. He said he pushed Jones to the ground to safety and, within moments of the push, he was struck on the right side of his body. He said the bullet traveled through him and exited on the right side of his back.
Before he was shot, Greenlee said another shooter next to Tyler was shooting his firearm in the air. This gunman was never identified Friday in open court.
Besides Tyler and Holmes, two other individuals have been charged with discharging a firearm in this incident.
Dwayne Dunn, 23, pleaded guilty to reckless discharge of a firearm in May. He was sentenced to 30 months of probation for his involvement.
On March 16, John Ingram, 23, of Cape Girardeau, pleaded guilty to aggravated discharge of a firearm in connection to his incident.
After being shot, Greenlee said he attempted to make his way back into 402 W. Walnut St. In attempting to do so, he fell on the porch and then crawled into the living room. Earlier in the trial, photos of blood spots on the porch were identified by Carbondale Police Crime Scene Specialist Rebecca Mooney.
Once in the house, he was tended to by a couple of women, according to Joshua Bell, and later taken to Memorial Hospital of Carbondale. After a short stay there, he was flown to a St. Louis hospital.
All three men — Greenlee, Jones, and Bell — said Greenlee didn’t have a gun that night and didn’t fire a weapon. Greenlee said he doesn’t own a weapon.
In opening statements, the defense said evidence will show that after the shooting in the house, Tyler had a confrontation with Greenlee and Jones in which Greenlee showed Tyler he had a revolver.
The defense said when Tyler made it out of the house, Greenlee and Jones continued to follow Tyler, yelling at him. Eventually, Greenlee fired a bullet from his revolver, hitting the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church at 303 S. Poplar.
As a result, the defense said, Tyler took out his weapon and returned fire. That was the moment when Greenlee moved in front of Beaty’s residence, the defense stated Tuesday.
The defense said Tyler was operating in self-defense when he fired his weapon on March 27, 2016.
Earlier in the trial, evidence by the state was admitted showing that a bullet appearing to strike the church was recovered about eight feet away from the church’s administration building.
On cross-examination by one of Tyler’s defense attorneys, T.J. Hunsaker, he said when Greenlee was in the hospital in St. Louis, he looked at a photo lineup to attempt to identify suspects from the incident. While looking at this photo, Greenlee told investigators “maybe No. 4.” In open court Friday, Greenlee was sure about the person who shot him.
During this same line of questioning, Greenlee said he never saw a weapon on Tyler during the altercation outside of the house before he went to the vehicle.
Bloodworth redirected Greenlee by asking if he met with investigators again to make an identification after being released from the hospital. Greenlee said he reviewed surveillance footage from Hangar 9 to identify Tyler as his shooter. He also did so in open court Friday.
The state will continue presenting its case at 9 a.m. Monday morning.