Witness: Suspect in Demitri Hampton murder said he fired fatal shot
The ex-girlfriend of Messiah Booker, the Brentwood man who stands accused of killing Riverhead High School graduate Demitri Hampton during a 2013 home invasion, testified Wednesday that Mr. Booker told her he fired the shot that killed Mr. Hampton.
Onika Walker, 34, who dated Mr. Booker and now lives in Arizona, testified at his murder trial before Suffolk County Supreme Court Judge John Collins and said she drove him and co-defendant Michael Parrish to the scene where the 21-year-old Flanders resident was killed.
Mr. Booker’s half-sister, Danielle Hall, 37, of Calverton drove his half-brother, 42-year-old Corry Wallace of Riverhead, Ms. Walker said.
Mr. Booker, 32, Mr. Wallace, Mr. Parrish and Ms. Hall have all been indicted on charges of second-degree murder and first-degree burglary in the Priscilla Avenue incident. Mr. Parrish and Ms. Hall are awaiting separate trials.
Ms. Walker was charged with felony criminal hindrance, released on her own recognizance and allowed to return home.
In response to questioning from assistant district attorney Glenn Kurtzrock and Mr. Booker’s attorney, Brendan Ahern of Hauppauge, Ms. Walker said she signed a cooperation agreement with police that will reduce her sentence from a felony to a misdemeanor charge of hindering prosecution. In addition, she must testify against all four suspects as part of that agreement, she said.
She also acknowledged that the lesser charge will allow her to retain custody of her 3- and 9-year-old sons.
During her testimony, Ms. Walker said she drove her blue Hyundai Elantra from Brentwood where she lived with Mr. Booker to pick up Mr. Parrish in Coram.
Her car and a Ford Explorer driven by Ms. Hall then headed to Mr. Hampton’s house.
As to why they were going to the Flanders home, Ms. Walker said: “I was told it was something about getting money or cash.”
Mr. Booker had a black handgun, Ms. Walker said, adding Mr. Parrish had a silver revolver and Mr. Wallace had a black shotgun.
“I saw all of the guns in the Brentwood house,” she said.
The three men went into the house wearing dark clothes, ski masks and rubber gloves, Ms. Walker said.
Ms. Walker added that Mr. Booker initially did not want to go into the home because he knew Mr. Hampton’s 16-year-old cousin Naquaisia Amari Love was inside.
Both Ms. Love and Frances Acevedo, Mr. Hampton’s girlfriend who was also inside the home at the time of the shooting, previously testified on Tuesday.
According to Ms. Walker, Mr. Wallace convinced Mr. Booker to enter the house since he believed the people inside wouldn’t fight back.
Ms. Walker said she waited outside in her car and Ms. Hall remained in her truck.
About three to five minutes later, Ms. Walker said she heard gunfire and saw the three men running toward the vehicles with Mr. Booker yelling, “Go! Go! Go!”
Both vehicles fled the scene and went to the Swiss Motel on Route 25 in Riverhead where Mr. Wallace was staying with his girlfriend, Ms. Walker said.
Mr. Booker then washed his hands, changed his clothes and placed his old clothes into a bag, Ms. Walker said, adding he later threw the bag away in a Brentwood 7-Eleven dumpster.
Ms. Walker testified Mr. Booker said he was in a struggle with someone trying to take his gun and shot him in the chest. He also told her Mr. Wallace had fired a shot that “buzzed past” Mr. Booker’s face and Mr. Parrish’s gun jammed.
She said she didn’t know the man who was shot had died until later that morning after seeing it on the news.
Prosecutors acknowledged that there is no DNA or fingerprint evidence and that plea deals have been offered to witnesses to testify against Mr. Booker.
Mr. Booker’s attorney said in his opening statement Tuesday it was Mr. Wallace — who is expected to testify Thursday — who shot and killed Mr. Hampton and has since accepted a plea deal from prosecutors to receive less jailtime.
Another witness expected to testify against Mr. Booker is Eric Walker, who isn’t related to Ms. Walker and lived in the Priscilla Avenue home.
The trial began Tuesday and is expected to last about two weeks.