Jurors heard the 911 call placed in the moments following a fatal 2013 home invasion in Flanders on day three of the trial of the man charged in the killing.
The call, which was placed by the victim’s cousin, ended as police quickly arrived on scene.
“I need someone here, my cousin’s been shot,” cried Latisha Diego, as she reported to a police dispatcher the Jan. 27, 2013 incident that led to the death of her cousin, Demitri Hampton. “Someone came in and kicked in the door … Oh my God, Oh my God.”
Jurors were asked to leave the courtroom by Suffolk County Supreme Court Judge John Collins near the start of Ms. Diego’s testimony as she sobbed attempting to describe the overnight burglary and shooting.
The sobs echoed in the 911 call played moments later, as the friends and relatives in the home at the time of the shooting scrambled to keep Mr. Hampton alive while simultaneously pleading for help.
“His eyes are open,” Ms. Diego told the dispatcher, who asked if Mr. Hampton was breathing.
“Please just get someone here,” she cried. “Please.”
It was Mr. Hampton, Ms. Diego testified, who asked her to call 911 shortly before stumbling into her bedroom, his chest covered in blood.
Much of the questioning of Ms. Diego Thursday in the trial of Messiah Booker centered around any possible illegal activities her boyfriend, who was in bed with her during the shooting, might have been involved in at the time of the break-in. And how he had come into large sums of money in the past.
Ms. Diego testified that while she was aware her boyfriend, Eric Walker, had a history of dealing drugs, she believes he had given that up in favor of employment with a local electrical contractor about 18 months before the shooting.
Describing the incident, Ms. Diego said she held a pillow over her face as one of the intruders waved a handgun in her face and asked “where is it?” She testified that she does not know what they were looking for.
As for the large sums of money? Ms. Diego testified that Mr. Walker had “at least twice” won lottery prizes of more than $10,000, including a roughly $20,000 prize in 2011.
When Mr. Booker’s attorney, Brendan Ahern of Hauppauge, asked if that money was on hand at the time of the shooting, Ms. Diego said they’d “spent it.”
Mr. Booker, 32, of Brentwood is facing a second-degree murder charge along with a count of first-degree robbery. The murder charge is in relation to the shooting death in the act of committing the felony robbery. Co-defendants Corry Wallace, 42, of Riverhead, Michael Parrish, 28, of Coram and Danielle Hall, 37, of Calverton are facing the same charges.
While Mr. Parrish and Ms. Hall are awaiting separate trials, Mr. Wallace is expected to testify during the Booker trial in a plea deal for a lesser sentence, according to Mr. Ahern’s opening statements.
Mr. Wallace, who is Mr. Booker’s brother, was scheduled to provide testimony Thursday, but could not appear due to a lockdown at Rikers Island, where he is currently incarcerated. He is expected to testify that Mr. Booker fired the fatal shot when he takes the witness stand either Friday or Monday.
Earlier testimony Thursday came from Dr. Odette Hall, a Suffolk County deputy medical examiner. Dr. Hall, who performed the autopsy on Mr. Hampton, testified to the cause of death, which she determined to be a gunshot wound to the torso. Dr. Hall said the lethal injuries were due to bleeding in the kidneys and chest.
In total, Mr. Hampton suffered two gunshot wounds, which Dr. Hall testified could have been caused by a single bullet found behind his left kidney. She stated that same bullet could have also caused entrance and exit wounds in his left forearm before entering through his rib cage.
Mr. Ahern questioned if Mr. Hampton’s fingernails were removed during the autopsy, which might produce a DNA profile of the suspect, since there was a struggle inside the house. Dr. Hall testified that while that is common in sexual assault cases, that did not occur in the Hampton investigation.
Additional testimony Thursday came from Roy Sineo, a forensic scientist with the Suffolk County Crime Laboratory, who collected evidence from the scene the morning of Mr. Hampton’s death. That evidence included a blood sample and damage in the kitchen apparently caused by a shotgun blast as well as a cigarette butt found on the snow covered front lawn. He also testified to the damage he witnessed to the front door of the house on Priscilla Avenue. Mr. Sineo is expected to conclude his testimony in the coming days.
Top Caption: A mobile command post in front of Demitri Hampton’s home on Priscilla Avenue in Flanders the morning of the shooting.