Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cop Killer William Woodard Trial, Day 1

They had gone for beer just before midnight on Jan. 15, 2008, but moments later Herbie Durham was holding the hand of a dying police officer who his friend allegedly had just shot, according to a witness in a death penalty trial.

Testimony began Tuesday in the capital case against William Woodard, charged with murdering two off-duty police officers — Eric Barker and Ricky Bryant — at an apartment complex in a “high-crime area” of DeKalb County where they were moonlighting.

Woodard’s attorney, Dwight Thomas, told jurors during morning opening statement that Woodard shot Barker and Bryant in self-defense because the two DeKalb County police officers were beating him. Thomas promised Woodard would tell his side of the story before the trial is over.
Woodard, 34, has pleaded not guilty.

The Victory Crossing Apartments were known to be dangerous, testified Michael Williams, an investigator for the DeKalb County district attorney, who called it a “high crime” area. Another witness, Michelle Payne, testified “everybody” there carried guns.
Police said Woodard was armed that night. One witness said Woodard always carried a Bible and his “baby,” a gun.

Durham said he was giving Woodard, a friend from high school, and his cousin a ride home but first, Woodard wanted to buy some beer.

But it was after 11:45 p.m. and nearby alcohol sales were prohibited, so they visited a second-floor Victory Crossing apartment — called a “shot house” — where they could get alcohol after hours.
They were about to drive away when the two uniformed officers approached Durham’s car, saying they smelled marijuana, according to testimony and police accounts.

Durham gave Barker his licence but Woodard did not, leading Bryant to pull him from the car and begin to search him.

Barker ran toward the passenger side of the car as Woodard and Bryant began to struggle and almost immediately, Durham said, shots were fired.

Durham said he dropped to the floor under the dashboard while Woodard’s cousin in the backseat exited the car and ran.

Durham testified that he didn’t see where Woodard went next. But prosecutors say he initially ran after shooting both officers but then came back to finish them off.
Durham testified he heard about eight shots. He got out of the car once the shooting stopped and saw the officers on the ground.

“One of them I knew wasn’t going to make it. But the one I thought was Barker, I hoped he would,” said Durham.

Durham, who was initially accused with murder but charges were dropped, said he touched Barker’s hand and the dying officer gripped his fingers.

“The other officer held my hand until he took his last breath,” Durham said.

AJC Rhonda Cook


Anonymous said...

There have been 1001 different accounts on what exactly happend on that fateful night from the media and p.d both. And to this day , if you ask 20 different people what happend, you get 20 different answers.Hopefully there will be a speedy ttial and we can get justice for the Barker and Bryant. As a Dekalb Officer, it will be a major blow not just to us, but to Atlanta P.d and all law enforcement officers everywhere if this guy walks away with anything short of the death penalty. But again, it aways depend on the jury......

Anonymous said...

What about?

William David Corn
DeKalb County Police Department, Georgia

End of Watch: Tuesday, February 1, 1972

Read more: http://www.odmp.org/officer/3468-officer-william-david-corn#ixzz28FeN0JgK

Anonymous said...

I have a question. His girlfriend who turned him in said he went everywhere with a Bible and a gun.

Was he carrying the Bible when SO took him down?

Hate to see such a devote man get the needle... NOT!

Anonymous said...

Its already taken four years to just get to trial. 30 years from now this guy will just be getting ready to walk to the death chamber if he gets the death penalty. One appeal in state court, one in federal court and your done.

Anonymous said...

I've been a long time resident of Belvedere Park and knew both of these police officers. I was really shocked to hear what happened to them when it did because they were both excellent officers in my opinion. They came to a lot of the Civic Club meetings (when the building was still there). These two guys really did care about looking out for that community. They need to start frying some of these dirt bags (including this jackass) and clean these Eastside neighborhoods up. I'm tired of all the constant BS that goes on over there everyday.
May these two officers RIP.