A childhood friend who tried to help fight off Bernard Hughes' killers recounted wrenching details of the man's death in the first of two likely murder trials related to the 2010 slaying.
Timothy Westfield took the stand early Wednesday in the trial of Unjolee Moore, 27, and recounted how he met Hughes when the two ran against each other in high school track and field events.
Westfield recently had reconnected with Hughes and was visiting his friend's 4417 Oakwood Drive apartment when Hughes answered a knock at the door and rushed outside.
Westfield heard a commotion and ran to help. Two men, both black, one shorter than the other and holding a gun, were fighting with Hughes.
Westfield joined the fight and soon saw a gun raised toward him, heard it fire and was knocked unconscious.
"I remember leaping at him. I saw two flashes and everything went black," Westfield testified.
When he awoke, Westfield saw Hughes lying still at the doorstep. He saw no blood and started CPR.
As he placed his hands on his friend's face, a finger slid into the bullet wound, which was near Hughes' nose. Brain matter came out the back of his head.
Westfield cried while re-living the event on the stand.
Moore is the first of four co-defendants to go to trial in the June 29, 2010, shooting.
John Thomas "Cutthroat" Simpson, 32; Harold Francis Butler III, 33; and Steven James Ballou, 33, also were charged.
Simpson pleaded guilty to second-degree murder earlier this year with the agreement he would testify against the others. Butler and Ballou are scheduled for trial July 16.
Prosecutors claim Moore knew that Hughes sold small amounts of marijuana, carried cash and had no firearm.
Prosecutor Cameron Williams said in the first day of the trial Tuesday that it was Moore's planning that brought him and three others to Hughes' home for the robbery.
Defense attorney Garth Best told the jury that there would be no physical evidence linking his client to the crime.
Westfield did not recognize the men who attacked Hughes. The armed man was wearing a black half-mask across his face.
Best named Butler as the suspected shooter in the incident while cross-examining witnesses during Wednesday's proceedings.
The trial resumes this morning in Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don Poole's courtroom.
Contact staff writer Todd South at tsouth@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6347. Follow him on Twitter @tsouthCTFP
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 ...