Key testimony plays out in the I-4 shooting trial

- A key witness took the stand Wednesday in the I-4 shooting trial.

Jerome Hayes is accused of killing Fred Turner on the interstate two years ago in a case of mistaken identity.

Now the passenger in Hayes' car is telling the jury what he saw.

Ronnie Isgett says he threw the first punch in a bar fight that was caught on surveillance video. "I punched the guy, " he said on the stand Wednesday.

Isgett testified he was drinking with his childhood buddy Jerome Hayes at a Tampa strip club the day of the deadly shooting on I-4 that killed Fred Turner.

Isgett says at the bar Hayes was egging him on. "I have no idea why I did it. Why I punched the gentleman standing between us," said Isgett.

That gentleman was James Prather who punched back even harder.


Isgett says bloodied and beat up, he and Hayes were kicked out of the bar.

The next thing he remembers is riding with Hayes on I-4.  Hayes was yelling at another driver who he thought was Prather, but it wasn't. It was Fred Turner.

Things were escalating fast. "During all the commotion in the car, he told me to get the gun out of the glove compartment, " said Isgett.

Right around that time a panicked and frantic Fred Turner is calling 911.  "This guy is pointing a gun at me. If he catches up to me, I'm gone, " said Turner during the call.

Isgett says the next thinge he remembers, "I heard three shots. He turned around and looked at me and said 'I got em.'"

The defense is trying to plant the seed of doubt, by suggesting Isgett had the real motive to kill after the bar fight, not Hayes.

Isgett says his memory was foggy that day.

He didn't remember the fight, or the shooting, even when he showed up at a hospital hours later to get medical treatment for a head and shoulder injury.

Defense Attorney Nick Mancini said, "you don't have this memory despite the fact that this doctor who stitched up your head had mentioned to you that he was late arriving at the emergency room because he had been jammed up on I-4 due to a shooting. That didn't jog your recollection?"
Isgett replied, "no."

The defense could start their case Thursday and Hayes is expected to take the stand.

 

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