For Third Time, English Woman Testifies in Rest Stop Slaying
Sep. 14, 1995
PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) _ An English woman sobbed on the witness stand as she testified for the third time how her companion was shot to death next to her during a botched robbery at a highway rest stop.
In two previous trials, juries deadlocked because of a lack of physical evidence tying John ``Billy Joe'' Crumitie, 18, to the slaying of Gary Colley of England two years ago today.
Margaret Jagger testified Wednesday that the couple was napping in a rental car when a tap on the driver's side window, near Colley, awakened them.
She said she saw one teen near Colley, and another on her side, pointing a gun at her. Four shots were fired, and one bullet passed through her right arm, across her chest and into Colley's neck, she said.
``Gary was lying there with blood,'' Jagger said, sobbing. ``He was bleeding from his nose and his mouth.''
As in the first two trials, Jagger was unable to identify Crumitie as one of the attackers.
Crumitie also is charged with trying to kill Jagger, 37, at the rest stop on Interstate 10 about 35 miles east of Tallahassee.
This trial is the first one attended by Colley's mother, Brenda Armitage of Bradford, England. The trial was to continue today.
Armitage dabbed her eyes with tissue but otherwise kept her composure as photos of her son's bloody body were shown to a jury. A medical examiner used the photos to describe how a .38 caliber bullet killed him.
Colley, 34, was one of 10 foreign visitors killed in Florida in a year-long series of crimes that tarnished the state's image and prompted it to post armed guards at rest stops and revamp its juvenile justice system.
In other testimony Wednesday, two prison inmates, including a cousin of Crumitie, said the defendant admitted he was involved in the shooting.
``He said he shot the bitch, Aundra shot the man,'' said cousin Thaddeus Crumitie, 20.
John Crumitie maintains he was asleep at home at the time of the slaying. He faces a mandatory life prison sentence with no parole for at least 25 years if convicted of first-degree murder.
Co-defendant Aundra Akins, 16, agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder and testify against John Crumitie in exchange for a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.
Deron Spear, 18, who said he drove a stolen car in the getaway, also has agreed to testify against Crumitie. Spear faces up to 10 years in prison on a guilty plea to conspiracy to commit robbery and accessory after the fact to murder.
Cedrick Green, 15, pleaded no contest to lesser charges and was sentenced as a juvenile last year. His lawyer claimed he was not at the scene.