The prosecution introduced cell phone records Friday that suggest the defendant in a murder trial associated with a 2013 fatal home invasion in Flanders could have been in the area at the time of the shooting.
The records were discussed during the testimony of employees with four cellular phone providers in the trial of Messiah Booker, 32, who is accused of firing the fatal bullet in the death of Demitri Hampton. Friday was the fourth day of testimony.
The records showed calls placed between a cell phone registered to Mr. Booker and phone numbers associated with several other individuals connected with the Jan. 27, 2013 robbery. A cell tower at the Flanders Fire Department property on Firehouse Lane, about a mile away from the Priscilla Avenue home where Mr. Hampton was shot, was pinged by each of the phones, according to the testimony in relation to the records. The calls were all placed around the time of the 3 a.m. shooting.
The cell phone company employees testified that those calls were likely placed within a roughly two-mile radius of the cell phone tower, though Mr. Booker’s attorney, Brendan Ahern of Hauppauge, questioned that testimony.
Mr. Ahern asked for factors that might lead to a tower being pinged from a longer distance away and for a maximum distance at which a tower might be reached. One cell phone company employee, a records custodian for T Mobile, which maintains the records for Mr. Booker’s cell phone from the time of the shooting, testified that in more rural areas a cell phone could reach a tower as much as 25 miles away. Signal strength and call volume are factors in determining connection with a specific tower, she said.
CRIME SCENE TESTIMONY
Mr. Ahern began his cross examination Friday of Roy Sineo, a forensic scientist with the Suffolk County Crime Laboratory, who collected evidence from the scene the morning of Mr. Hampton’s death.
Mr. Sineo had been questioned Thursday by Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Glenn Kurtzrock, at which time he testified in regards to a blood sample collected in the kitchen of the Priscilla Avenue home.
On Friday, Mr. Ahern asked Mr. Sineo why only one swab of blood was collected from the scene when police and crime scene employees were aware a struggle had ensued between Mr. Hampton and one of the suspects at the scene.
“From talking to detectives we were told only one person was bleeding,” Mr. Sineo said.
Mr. Sineo is expected to conclude his testimony Monday.
WALLACE TO TAKE WITNESS STAND
Co-defendant Corry Wallace, who is Mr. Booker’s brother, is expected to take the witness stand Monday.
Both men are 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. Two more co-defendants, Michael Parrish, 28, and Danielle Hall, 37, are facing the same charges.
While Mr. Parrish and Ms. Hall are awaiting separate trials, Mr. Wallace is expected to testify Monday in a plea deal for a lesser sentence, the defense has stated.
Photo caption: The cell tower behind the Flanders firehouse. (Credit: Grant Parpan)