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Defense rips key witness in murder trial

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Tremain Davis

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Armand Babbitt

LAWRENCEVILLE — The hail of bullets on that Friday afternoon whizzed past a mother and her young daughter in their car. A lady in her apartment heard the whoosh of a bullet zipping by her head. Other bullets connected with three players in an alleged cocaine deal, killing one.

Marietta resident Tremain Davis, 38, is on trial for murder as the broker of that $29,000 drug transaction on June 4, 2010, in the parking lot of the Carrington Chase Apartments on Club Drive. The bullet that found Davis is still lodged in his back.

Prosecutors believe Davis and at least one other man — codefendant Armand Babbitt, 33, of Lawrenceville — came to the apartments that day in a black Dodge Charger, intent on ripping off the cocaine dealers. By the time they sped away, three people had been shot, including Felipe Brito, 39, who would soon die at Gwinnett Medical Center. Brito’s friend and key witness Miguel Batista was shot in the groin.

Davis and company “were going to get the drugs, they were going to get the money, and then leave,” John Setzer, assistant district attorney, told jurors during closing arguments Thursday morning in Davis’ trial. “If they had to kill somebody, so be it.”

Davis knew Batista from past marijuana deals together. From the witness stand earlier this week, Batista, who eventually admitted to selling the cocaine that day, pointed out Davis as the man who started shooting from the backseat of the Charger, Setzer said.

Defense attorney John Petrey ripped the credibility of an admitted drug dealer and proven liar like Batista. He called Davis a victim.

“The state has hung its entire case on the believability (of Batista), an admitted dope dealer,” Petrey told jurors. “Nothing links him to the scene but that.”

After the shoot-out, Davis was dropped off at a veteran’s affairs hospital in Decatur, claiming he was the victim of a drive-by shooting at a nearby gas station. He was released from Grady Memorial Hospital before Gwinnett police had a chance to interview him but was apprehended about a week later.

Davis claimed a man he barely knew named “Omar” drove the Charger, but prosecutors have doubts that “Omar” exists.

Deliberations were expected to begin around lunchtime Thursday and will resume today. Davis, who wore eyeglasses on his shaved head and a long-sleeved polo shirt, faces life in prison.

Like codefendant Babbitt, he faces counts of felony murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault and weapons possession. Both are convicted felons, court records show.

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