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Mother describes suspect as disoriented in trial for shooting death of World War II veteran
Meridian Star - 8/30/2017
Aug. 30--Three more witnesses testified Wednesday morning in the trial of Shon P. Byrd Jr., accused in the shooting death of H.L. "Billy" Putnam, including the defendant's mother who described him as disoriented that weekend.
Putman, a World War II veteran, died in his vehicle from a gunshot wound outside of Vowell's Market Place on North Hills Street in Meridian on May 11, 2014 after reportedly buying his wife flowers for Mother's Day.
Police arrested and charged Byrd with capital murder, armed robbery and three counts of credit card fraud.
Just before the lunch recess Wednesday morning, Byrd's mother, Janis Byrd Grant, testified to the court about Byrd's condition.
That Friday, Grant said, Byrd came home under the influence of various drugs, including marijuana, pills and cough syrup.
Byrd slept from Friday night until Sunday morning and woke up disoriented, bumping into walls, swaying and unsure of his location, according to Grant.
Grant said Byrd left for Pritchard's home, where he had been Friday night, around 11 a.m. Sunday. She said she tried to prevent Byrd from leaving but felt frustrated by his behavior and stopped short.
"I let him leave because I had really got to the point where I was kind of frustrated. I went to run after him but my husband told me..." Grant said before the district attorney, Bilbo Mitchell, cut Grant short.
Kevin Boyd, a Meridian police detective, testified earlier Wednesday about the investigation that led to Byrd's arrest.
Using a car tag number provided by one of the witnesses, Boyd said officers spoke to the mother of Decarlos Santez Clark, who police charged as an accessory after the fact.
Clark testified Tuesday that he drove the car with Veronica Ferguson and Byrd as passengers, saying that Byrd exited the car, gunshots rang out and Byrd re-entered the car before they drove away.
Later that day, according to the testimony by both Clark and Ferguson, the three went shopping with a credit card Byrd claimed he got from a family member. The card used in these transactions turned out to be Putnam's card.
Clark pled guilty to accessory after the fact and two counts of credit card fraud. Ferguson made a deal with the state to drop her 14-year sentence for accessory after the fact and credit card fraud in exchange for her testimony at Byrd's trial.
In court, however, Boyd said the search warrant and accompanying affidavit, which allowed police to search the home of Clark, were missing from the case file.
Jared Stanley, the director of E911 in Lauderdale County, testified about a dispatch recording in which a dispatcher revealed to an unknown man that authorities suspected Lyndell Pritchard, the brother of Clark, on that Mother's Day.
Throughout the trial, John Helmert Jr., Byrd's defense attorney, has attempted to cast doubt on the testimonies that Byrd committed the crimes, saying Pritchard committed those crimes while Byrd stayed in the car and both Ferguson and Clark had reason to say otherwise.
On the stand, Ferguson revealed she had been dating Pritchard at the time and had a child with him.
Just before the court broke for the lunch recess, Byrd told the court he would choose not to testify in the trial.
The trial is set to resume at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday.
(c)2017 The Meridian Star (Meridian, Miss.)
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