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Prosecutors point to texts in College Park killings

Photo by Kathy Jefcoats
Defense attorney Deborah Leslie urges jurors to find Christopher Bradshaw innocent in the 2011double shooting deaths of teenagers in College Park.

Photo by Kathy Jefcoats Defense attorney Deborah Leslie urges jurors to find Christopher Bradshaw innocent in the 2011double shooting deaths of teenagers in College Park.

JONESBORO — Witnesses may lie from the stand but texts tell the truth, Clayton County said prosecutors Wednesday.

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Photo by Kathy Jefcoats Clayton County Deputy Assistant District Attorney Katie Powers gives her opening statement Tuesday.

Deputy Assistant District Attorney Katie Powers argued in her closing statement that co-defendant Michael Lewis Boykin Jr., 19, had no way of retroactively adding texts to his phone that seem to point to Christopher Bradshaw's guilt in a 2011 double shooting. Both men are charged in the deaths of Devonta Stembridge, 19, and Dion Brice, 16, but only Bradshaw is on trial this week. Boykin turned state's evidence and testified as the star witness Tuesday morning.

Defense attorney Deborah Leslie told jurors in her closing statement that Boykin lied under oath and that he is the actual shooter. Boykin testified to being there when the shooting happened but that Bradshaw pulled the trigger. He said he was terrified Bradshaw, 27, would kill him and his mother if he went to the police and he lied to College Park officers during the investigation.

But Powers said that doesn't mean Boykin wasn't truthful in his testimony. She produced a text sent to him by Bradshaw less than 12 hours after the shootings warning him: "Don't say (expletive deleted) to nobody."

"You're not worrying about snitching if you didn't do it," said Powers.

Boykin admitted to setting up a marijuana buy between the two teenagers and Bradshaw. He said Bradshaw was furious to find hay mixed in with the drug and killed the two as Bradshaw sat in the back seat of Stembridge's car, smoking a cigar. Boykin testified to seeing Bradshaw put a 9 mm to the back of Stembridge's head and pull the trigger.

Police said as Brice turned toward the sound, Bradshaw put the gun between his eyes and shot him. Powers said the shot wasn't immediately fatal.

"The last thing he saw on Earth was the end of the barrel of the defendant's gun," said Powers. "It was pointed so close to his 16-year-old face, there was soot on it. But that didn't kill him. He tried to get out of the car and run, but (Bradshaw) wouldn't let him. He shot in the back, right through his aorta."

Both teenagers died in the front seat of the car. Boykin testified to running after seeing Stembridge killed and to hearing the subsequent shots. He said Bradshaw got out the of car, pulled his white T-shirt over his head, which also took off his white baseball cap, dropped them on the ground and followed Boykin home.

Leslie told jurors Boykin has motivation to lie, that he is looking for leniency in his own case.

"The state hasn't presented evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that Christopher Bradshaw killed these two people," she said. "Christopher Bradshaw is innocent. Find him innocent of these charges."