As expected, Hughes’ defense attorney Johnnie Walls offered up Keyon Pittman as the person who murdered Avis Banks. The State called Pittman to testify. After listening to his testimony, I just couldn’t get these Gangsta Pat lyrics out of my head:
Yeah, I’m gettin’ over,
You call me a dog,
But my name ain’t Rover.
There were some surprises and not-so-surprises in his testimony. The not-so-surprise part was that he verified what everyone already knew: he’s a first-class scumbag. According to his own testimony, his “playa” credentials at the time of Banks’ murder included: (1) he wasn’t just cheating on Banks with Hughes, but also a third woman; (2) when Pittman found out Banks had been murdered, he called Hughes and the other woman for “comfort;” (3) he had sex with Hughes in the same bed he shared with Banks; (4) he didn’t have any real feelings for Hughes, and “it was just sex;” and (5) despite this lack of feelings, he still led Hughes to believe she was “special.” Yep. Scumbag.
As to surprises, the following was brought out in Pittman’s testimony:
(1) Pittman had borrowed a pair of Hughes’ shoes prior to the murder. Pittman claimed that he returned the shoes after only having them a day or so. Obviously, since the victim’s blood was found on Carla Hughes’ shoes, the defense is attempting to show that the shoes were in Pittman’s possession (on his feet, by implication) at the time of the murder;
(2) Pittman had a key to Hughes’ apartment, which would have given him access to Hughes’ handgun (the murder weapon); and
(3) Pittman had gunshot residue (GSR) on his hands when tested by police the night of the murder.
All these are major points for the defense, but the positive GSR seems to be huge. To have GSR on his hand, Pittman had to have either recently fired a gun, or touched a gun, causing GSR to be transferred. That’s an important development. Sounds like Johnnie Walls did a great job cross-examining Hughes. Of course, it helps when the State’s star witness begins his testimony with “Woof Woof.”
Curt Crowley is a Jackson, Mississippi criminal defense attorney.