Surveillance footage from a 2018 slaying was played in court Wednesday as the murder trial of Andre Montrel Woods continued.
Woods, 23, is the suspect in the May 18, 2018, shooting death of Ashleigh Elijah. A witness told authorities Woods shot Elijah twice on Chester Street then fled into a nearby wooded area. Lufkin Police arrested him hours later.
Attorneys John Reeves and Carter Meyers are representing Woods in his case, and assistant District Attorneys Sandra Martin and Ken Dies are prosecuting the case.
A neighbor who had surveillance footage of the incident was the first to testify Wednesday, and the footage on his camera captured was played for the court.
In the distance in the surveillance footage, Elijah and witnesses can be seen interacting in another yard near, two homes down, before a man in white, believed to be Woods, chases Elijah with what appears to be a firearm.
The shooting cannot be seen clearly in the footage, which doesn’t include audio, however others on the street react to the scene and some flee indoors.
After that incident, the same man in white can be seen approaching where Elijah is on the ground before running toward the woods.
Lufkin Police Lt. David Young, officers Devin Trotti and John Dean, Lufkin Fire paramedic Desmond Garcia and LPD Crime Scene Technician Christy Pate all testified about what they observed after responding to the scene, their investigation and evidence gathering.
“I think he absolutely intended to kill her and went back to shoot her a second time to do so,” Young said.
Young, Trotti and Dean testified about their attempts to gain information after arriving at the scene. Some who were there said they weren’t involved, or weren’t witnesses and refused to give information.
Dean stayed with Elijah while waiting for paramedics to arrive, Trotti secured the scene and Young spoke with the witness who eventually identified Woods as the suspect.
Hours later, Trotti said another officer had found Woods, and he arrived there to assist in the arrest.
Video from the officers’ bodycams was played for the court.
In Dean’s footage, he is observed speaking with a woman that is helping care for Elijah, who is wounded on the ground.
Reeves said the woman helping Elijah is Woods’ mother, however Martin made note that she did not identify her son as a suspect in the shooting. She claimed she did not witness the shooting and ran out of her home after the first shot was fired.
Martin asked Young why someone might withhold information after a shooting.
“It could be any number of things,” Young said. “Sometimes things may be forgotten in the horror of the scene. They may have some ulterior motive.”
Bodycam footage of Woods after he was taken into custody also was presented to the court. Trotti said Woods didn’t have a firearm or a cellphone on him at the time of the arrest.
Evidence gathered from the scene was presented during Pate’s testimony, including the part of Elijah’s dress where one of the bullets entered.
Sandy Parent, who was a forensic scientist with the Texas Department of Public Safety when the shooting occurred, also testified. She offered a report on Woods’ hands; a particle was found containing two of the three elements present in gunpowder residue.
In response to another question from Dies, Parent said touching other objects can cause these particles to be lost.
Dies used moving through the woods and pushing brush aside as an example.
Parent said her job was to identify the presence of gunshot residue, not to determine how it got on Woods’ hand.
“I can tell you the particles were present, but I can’t tell you how they were deposited,” she said.
Reeves said the presence of the particles wasn’t conclusive evidence.
The court went into recess for the day after Pate testified.