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Tape captures slaying moment

Testimony opens in Totton killing

Eric Smith

The video is dark, and the time stamp partially covers the image, but the view is unmistakable – one man shooting another, then walking nonchalantly away.

An Allen County Superior Court jury saw the video Tuesday afternoon in the first day of a murder trial for Eric Smith, a 36-year-old Fort Wayne man accused of fatally shooting Jabron Q. Totton in a parking lot. Update: Verdict is in

According to testimony Tuesday, two men interacted with Smith moments before the shooting, one of whom heard him exchange words with Totton.

Charged in July, Smith asked for a speedy trial, so the case shot to the top of the calendar and went to trial this week, pushing back cases pending since early in the year. The trial is expected to last until Thursday afternoon.

In the early morning of June 9, Totton, 37, was fatally shot in the parking lot of the American Legion Post 148 at South Hanna and East Lewis streets. Smith, whom court documents say is also known as Adam Prosser, is charged with murder and being a felon in unlawful possession of a firearm.

Totton and Quantry Brown were standing next to a car after the club closed when Smith approached them and asked whether they had been talking about him, Brown testified Tuesday.

After Brown said no, Smith walked around to the other side of the car and asked Totton, who replied, "I love everybody like a brother," Brown testified.

Smith pushed him and Totton put his hands up, Brown said. Within seconds, Brown heard gunshots and took off running.

Brown said he hid for a while until a woman picked him up; they then picked up Totton's girlfriend and went to a hospital. When he was interviewed by police, he said he was hesitant to identify Smith as the shooter.

But he did later.

Struggling to control his emotions, Brown testified that he felt he had to do something to get justice for his friend. He said he went back to the police and identified Smith by name and picture.

Another man, Sherman Griggs Jr., testified that he ran into Smith at the doorway of the club as it shut down for the night. Having not seen each other for about a decade, the two talked for about 10 minutes. Their conversation was picked up by a surveillance camera.

Griggs said they began walking toward some parked cars, Smith guiding him in that direction with a hand on his shoulder. Griggs said he'd had at least four drinks and was looking for a place to relieve himself. As he did so, he said, he overheard a conversation about "love or loving or something," followed by gunshots.

Griggs said he saw Totton on the ground and Smith walking away. Griggs said he called 911 and tried to help Totton.

As Grigg's testimony wound down, Allen County Deputy Prosecutor Jason Custer showed the jury a second video – this showing Griggs' and Smith's conversation.

The two walked off-camera. Soon after, the surveillance tape shows a figure identified as Smith walking slowly across the parking lot.

rgreen@jg.net

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