published Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Witnesses describe shooting death of Reginald Clark in Chattanooga

Three witnesses in a preliminary court hearing Tuesday recounted what they saw the night two men rushed into a Greenwood Drive home and shot a 37-year-old man to death.

Larinder Lewis testified in Hamilton County Sessions Court that, after 3 a.m. on Oct. 7, she saw Roderick "Poo Poo" Bates and Emmett "D Baby" Jones, both 25, fire at least five shots at Reginald Clark before he could draw a pistol from his pants to return fire.

Clark was killed inside his home on Greenwood Drive.

"They came in and started shooting," Lewis testified. "I just panicked and ran out the back door."

Marterrous Daniel, 19, testified Tuesday that he was standing a few feet from Clark when he saw Jones enter the room and heard what sounded like Bates say, "What that [expletive] you talking at the club?" before gunshots rang in the room and smoke filled the air.

According to police reports, the men involved got into an altercation earlier that night with some other men at the 807 Fire and Ice nightclub on Market Street.

Daniel testified that he complimented a woman's outfit in the club, but she acted insulted and poured a drink on him. A short time later, Bates approached Daniel, told him the woman was his girlfriend and asked if he had a problem.

After the shooting, Daniel said he lay on the floor and played dead until the shooters left. He then went to Clark, who was lying facedown on the floor with Clark's .40-caliber pistol nearby, Daniel said.

"He had his hand on it, but he just wasn't quick enough," Daniel said.

A medical examiner's report shows three gunshot wounds in Clark's body. One bullet entered the upper front of his right shoulder near the neck, another hit his chest just right of center and the third hit his upper back near the right shoulder.

Another witness, Sanford Ballou, testified that he was outside of the house when two men in black rushed by him and into the house, but he couldn't identify Bates or Jones in court as those men.

Jones' defense attorney, Jeffery Schaarschmidt, asked each witness if his client was at the Fire and Ice club. All three who testified said Jones wasn't at the club but they knew him from the neighborhood.

Collegedale Judge David Norton oversaw the hearing for Sessions Court Judge David Bales, who was absent for medical reasons. After a near-two-hour hearing, Norton closed the hearing for Monday and plans to finish it this morning.

about Todd South...

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 ...

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