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Suspect who pled guilty testifies on day 2 of Benbow murder trial
BENBOW for web
Marcus Benbow - photo by Special
    Kendall Worthy, who pled guilty earlier this year to murder charges, testified Thursday regarding defendant Marcus Benbow's involvement in the Oct. 14, 2006 shooting spree on Orange Street that killed one man and injured two other victims.
    Benbow and three other suspects, including Worthy, were charged with killing Corey Oneil Walker, 21; and seriously injuring James Williams, 44, and Chalandria McClouden, 31. The suspects are being tried separately; Worthy pled guilty but has not yet been sentenced.
    On the second day of the trial, Worthy gave details of the incident, describing how he, Benbow, Frederico Mikell and Bryan Hughley traveled from Waycross to Statesboro with a couple of guns in the trunk of the car.
    Worthy said the group stopped and loaded an AK-47 into the trunk of the car in which they traveled, and told jurors Benbow had a "nine-round .22 with a double 9 printed on it."
    Worthy said both Benbow and Hughley were "like family," - long time family friends. But he said he was testifying because "The truth needs to be heard."
    He said Benbow was drinking liquor and snorting cocaine on the way to Statesboro, and when Mikell was making calls looking for drugs to buy in Statesboro, Benbow said "Tell' em we got $3,500 for them."
    Once in Statesboro, the four went to Mikell's mother's house and to"a bootlegger's house ... to find out where to get drugs," he said. "The bootlegger said to go to the  gambling house," which ended up being 7A Orange Street, where the shooting later occurred.
    Worthy echoed statements from witnesses testifying Wednesday, describing for the jury how Mikell asked Walker for drugs, and said Walker told him he did not have that much to sell. Then Mikell and Benbow "had words," he said.
    The four reached a street corner, where Mikell and Benbow pulled the AK-47 from the trunk through the back seat, "put in a clip and then he (Benbow) pulled a .22 from under the seat," he said.
    They returned to the Orange Street residence, and Mikell and Benbow walked back to the front door and knocked, he said. When someone answered t he door, he saw Benbow "Tussling" with James Williams, and saw Mikell drop the AK-47 in the grass and leave.
    Worthy said he then picked up the assault rifle and began firing.
    "I had to back him up," he said, referring to defending Benbow. He said he thought he fired only three times, but learned later police found six shell casings. He also told jurors he saw " a girl," whom he later learned was Chalandria McClouden, fall.
    He said he went back to the car and put the gun in the back seat, and noticed Benbow "scooping up something in a hat. We found out later it was money. He put it in his pocket."
    He said Benbow was angry that Mikell ran off.
@Subhead: "I'm testifying the  truth"
@Bodycopy:    Worthy admitted he lied in his preliminary statement to police, and lied later about the guns being thrown out of the car window. That never happened, he said. The guns were taken back to Waycross, and he said he lied because he did not want police finding evidence.
    He also told jurors how Benbow sent him a message via a letter to Benbow's son, who was also in jail with Worthy in Waycross. The message was "not to take a plea, to go to trial, and have my people testify I was home with them," he said.
    Benbow's public defender, attorney Steven Yekel, asked Worthy if he was testifying Thursday because of " a deal."
    "I'm testifying the truth," Worthy replied.
    '"You'd do anything to save yourself, wouldn't you?" Yekel asked.
    "How am I saving myself?" Worthy said. "I pled - I got life."
    Worthy has yet"But you haven't been sentenced yet ... you could get a different sentence," Yekel said. But Bulloch County Superior Court Judge John R. Turner admonished Yekel. "He's already testified he hasn't been sentenced."
    Ogeechee Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Daphne Jarriel, prosecutor for the case, asked Worthy "Why are you here to testify?"
    "It's the truth, and the truth needs to be herd," Worthy said. "I'd like to apologize on my behalf, and I'll  accept my punishment for what I did."
    "Why did you tale the plea deal?" Yekel asked.
    "I didn't want to have to go to trial," Worthy replied.
@Subhead:Walker died of gunshot wounds
@Bodycopy:    Expert witnesses and detectives testified later, giving specifics on bullets and bullet fragments and other evidence found. Dr. Jacqueline Martin, Georgia Bureau of Investigation Deputy Chief Medial Examiner from Decatur, testified Walker died from two gun shots - one to his abdomen, which exited; and a second in his upper torso that pierced his lung and heart.
    The prosecution displayed autopsy photos of Walker's wounds.
    Statesboro Police Det. Sgt. James Winskey testified about his findings at the crime scene, and said he found $330 on the floor beside Walker; $2,650 in Walker's jeans; $140 on the couch in the living room; a plastic bag with 20 Ecstasy (MDMA) pills in one jacket, which no one would claim; and the following in another jacket, which Walker's family identified as his: a bag containing suspected powder cocaine, two bags filled with suspected crack cocaine, 12 small blue zipper lock bags with suspected crack, a bag of Ecstasy (MDMA) pills, a bag of marijuana and two Swisher Sweet cigars.
    Investigators also found a quantity of marijuana in a toilet.
    Other law enforcement officers testified, including two from Waycross who were involved in Benbow's capture. Statesboro Police Det. Rob Bryan testified and told jurors how Worthy broke down when he finally confessed "he murdered someone," and said he wrote Worthy's second statement for him because Worthy asked him to , stating he was too nervous and upset to write.
    Worthy signed the statement Bryan wrote as he dictated.
    Yekel asked the jury to  be excused, then asked Turner to acquit Benbow of one robbery charge, as one victim testified Wednesday he lost no money during the robbery. A quantity of cash was in the living room of the Orange Street residence during the incident because several victims were playing a dice game called C-Low. Witness Jeffrey Eason testified he had "broke even" that night and had no money in the pot.
    Turner agreed to dismiss that charge, but refused Yekel's request that the kidnapping charges be dropped.
    The trial continues today, with the defense expected to call two more witnesses. The state may call a rebuttal, and then both the prosecution and defense are expected to make closing arguments.
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