Defendant testifies Wednesday in murder trial of 19-year-old

LAWRENCEVILLE - After her client admitted lying to police in initial interviews, attorney Stacy Levy asked Marco Danyel Mcilwain why jurors should believe he was telling the truth when he claimed he had nothing to do with the death of Jimmy Lee West.

"Shooting somebody in the back of the head is something I did not do," Mcilwain said. "When I was telling the truth, the first time, I wasn't getting nowhere. I wasn't involved in the shooting of Jimmy Lee West."

But Assistant District Attorney Nigel Lush questioned Mcilwain on Wednesday about why Mcilwain had left information about where he was and who he was with out of his statements to police, and why no one could find the woman who could provide Mcilwain with an alibi.

Mcilwain, 19, is accused of killing 19-year-old West, who was shot Feb. 5, 2007 in Dacula. Mcilwain is the first of three co-defendants charged with murder to face trial. He was indicted, along with Joseph Andrew Smith and Keith Orlando Owens Jr., in October.

Jurors will begin deliberations in the case today.

Mcilwain claimed he was being blamed for something he did not do, and told jurors he thought the other defendants wanted to bring someone else down with them.

He told Lush he left out details of the day of the murder to avoid involving anyone else in the situation.

But Lush questioned why no one could find the girl Mcilwain said he was with. Mcilwain said he did not know her last name, and her phone had been disconnected. He did not mention her to police as a possible alibi before the trial.

Mcilwain said he had no "beef" with West, and often said he was having trouble remembering details of the day during Lush's cross examination.

"Now it's coming back, it's really coming back to me," Mcilwain said.

"Do you think if I question you long enough, you'll remember being in the car during the shooting?" Lush asked.

Magistrate Judge Laura Tate is presiding over the trials. Mcilwain has remained at the Gwinnett County Jail without bond since Feb. 6 of last year.

Police said the three men gunned down West in a yard on Hill Circle in Dacula. Investigators said all three men knew West, but a motive was unclear.