Trevillion tells court he was trying to calm group on killing night

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Armond Trevillion took the stand Tuesday, telling jurors he was innocent in the eruption of gunfire on the night of June 17, 2007, when 25-year-old Justin Maurice Harris died.

“This is deja vu,” Trevillion said. “Doing time in prison for something I didn’t do… That’s deja vu.”

Trevillion, just 28, has already served a 15-year term after a 1996 conviction of aggravated assault. In the case being heard in Warren County Circuit Court, he faces charges of murder, two counts of aggravated assault, shooting into an occupied dwelling and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, a result of the shooting at 1224 Grammar St.

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Also indicted in the shooting were Rufus Armstrong, 32, and Trevillion’s three brothers, Anthony Trevillion, 30, Alonzo Trevillion, 35, and Matthew Nash, 29.

“I was with (my brothers), but I was trying to calm them down,” Armond Trevillion testified. “I was saying, ‘It doesn’t have to go this far, not to killing. It’s not that serious.’ I’m the baby of the family, but my brothers usually look up to me. I was trying to help.”

Earlier in the day the prosecution had produced several witnesses, including the victim’s brother, the victim’s best friend and a Grammar Street neighbor, all of whom were witnesses to the crime,  who testified that Armond Trevillion was directly involved.

Many of the day’s witnesses also expressed fear that there would be repercussions from the Trevillion family for testifying against Armond. Indeed, Harris is said to have been killed for offending the family a few hours earlier.

The prosecution also produced a tape of Armond Trevillion’s interrogation by Vicksburg police investigators after he turned himself in the day after the shooting.

On that tape he initially denied being at the scene at all but later admitted to both being there and carrying a shotgun to the house, both of which had previously been confirmed by witnesses.

Testimony from the crime scene investigator confirmed that one shotgun shell had been found among the many bullet casings outside the house.

“The fact is that Armond and Nash went and found a woman and asked where the victim lived,” said Assistant District Attorney Dewey Arthur, addressing the jury. “The fact is they went back to their house and the defendant, Armond, a convicted felon, got a gun. The fact is that they proceeded to Harris’ house and shot 20-plus times, a shooting that ultimately killed Justin Maurice Harris.”

Armond Trevillion, the last of the day to take the witness stand, did not deny that he’d had a gun in his possession, but said he was only holding it in an attempt to keep his brothers out of trouble. He also said the shot fired from the gun in his hands was an accident.

“I had the gun in my hand and we were all arguing,” said Armond Trevillion. “Then (Matthew Nash) tried to get the gun from me and it went off on accident. When (Anthony) heard the gun go off he just started shooting his.”

Anthony Trevillion was sentenced to life plus 53 years after he was convicted in Harris’ death in April. He and Harris were fathers of children by the same woman, according to various testimony.

Anthony Trevillion pointed the finger at a “Killer C” during his trial but Armond denied the existence of such a person Tuesday, saying his brother was simply trying to get out of trouble because he knew he had done something wrong.

“Mr. (Dewey) Arthur has told you some of the things the evidence shows — a senseless murder, an altercation,” lawyer for the defendant, Roy Smith of Jackson, told the jury. “But evidence will not show my client, Armond Trevillion, committed any of those crimes.”

The jury, made up of five men and seven women, was ordered sequestered by Judge Frank Vollor until the trial concludes.

Closing arguments were set to begin at 9 this morning.

An appeal notice has been filed in Anthony Trevillion’s case.

A mistrial was declared for Nash in June. Smith has said a retrial for Nash would be pursued, but a date has not been set. Trials are also pending for Alonzo Trevillion and Armstrong, but dates have not been set.


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