Jonathan Lawrence’s father shielded his face with his hand as a doctor described the wounds that instantly killed his son.
John Lawrence has attended each appearance in Hamilton County court for Montez Davis, 20, who is charged with first-degree murder in the fatal 2010 shooting at the Kanku’s gas station on Wilcox Boulevard.
Dr. James Metcalfe, a forensic pathologist for the Hamilton County Medical Examiner’s Office, testified Wednesday that a .40-caliber bullet struck Lawrence in the left side of his neck just beneath his ear. The bullet severed the carotid arteries and “gouged a hole in the lower border of the jawbone,” Metcalfe said.
Lawrence, 42, who was pumping gas, died on the spot, Metcalfe told Assistant District Attorney Neal Pinkston.
On Day 2 of Davis’ trial, prosecutors brought in Metcalfe, four Chattanooga police officers and two Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents to reconstruct moment by moment the shooting at 3440 Wilcox Blvd. on Jan. 9, 2010 and its aftermath. That included a retaliation shooting a few minutes later on the 1000 block of Tunnel Boulevard.
Defense attorney Curtis L. Bowe III consistently questioned how secure the Wilcox and Tunnel Boulevard crime scenes were and how police gathered evidence.
Prosecutors allege that, as Davis drove through the parking lot of the Kanku’s that night, Anthony Russell hurled a beer bottle that shattered the back window of Davis’ rented 2009 white Jeep Patriot.
Davis drove about 30 yards to the end of the lot, stopped the car, got out and began firing a .40-caliber Glock handgun at the crowd, prosecutors say. One slug hit Jonathan Lawrence in the throat.
The jury saw a 42-second video clip from a gas station security camera showing the chaotic scene that unfolded when gunfire erupted on the cold January night.
The clip shows a silver-colored four-door sedan backing rapidly away from the front of the store as a dark-colored sport utility vehicle speeds past the nearest gas pump and pedestrians run out of the camera view.
Jurors also saw police photographs from the scene, including Lawrence’s body lying facedown next to a pump, his hands inside the front pockets of his black jacket, blood on the ground near his head.
Police found five brass .40-caliber Smith and Wesson shell casings in a cluster on the Kanku’s parking lot.
Minutes after the shooting at Kanku’s, a brief, intense gun battle riddled a house on Tunnel Boulevard with bullets.
Chattanooga police investigator Brian Russell testified that he left the Kanku’s and went to Tunnel Boulevard, where he marked and photographed 11 assault-rifle shell casings that rolled along the pavement in the hard wind in front of the home of Davis’ grandmother.
Rifle slugs — likely from an AK-47 type assault rifle — pierced the front porch floor, front door, front window and inside bedroom walls in the home, testified TBI firearms expert Steve Scott. Police found one slug embedded in a wooden clothes dresser, he said.
Police said another slug tore through the driver’s side window of Inah Gardner’s car, struck her in the hand and lodged in the passenger door as she drove by the Tunnel Boulevard home.
After obtaining a search warrant, officers found more .40-caliber shell casings near the white Jeep Patriot parked behind the home.
Police have said the shooters were retaliating for Davis firing on them in the gas station parking lot.
The trial resumes this morning in Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman’s courtroom.
Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...