Teenager recounts gunfire at party
Stanley murder trial enters its fifth week
SCHENECTADY A local teenager testified Monday in the trial of the man accused of killing young basketball player Eddie Stanley that he saw James Wells open fire during the party where Stanley was killed.
Wells’ defense attorney, though, pushed back on cross examination, suggesting the witness’ sequence of events and how he got into position to see what he allegedly saw didn’t make sense.
Taylor Thackeray, 19, testified Monday that he was at the early morning party where Stanley was shot and killed.
He identified Wells as checking partygoers at the door, patting them down for weapons. Thackeray, who said he drank alcohol at the party, also recalled demands for missing car keys, which eventually led to the party being shut down.
Thackeray submitted to another pat-down on his way out, as Wells and others checked people again as they left, looking for the keys.
Thackeray was in the street when he heard a gunshot from inside the house, he testified.
Thackeray said he rushed back toward the house and tried to get inside, worried about a friend who was still inside.
He recalled trying to force open the door to the first landing, finally getting through. He went up the stairs, quickly found his friend and then re-entered the stairwell, he said.
It was at that point that Thackeray heard and saw the second and subsequent shots.
Thackeray said he saw Wells raise a large gun.
Prosecutor Philip Mueller asked Thackeray what Wells then did with the gun.
“He started firing,” Thackeray said.
Wells, 32, of Brooklyn, faces one count of second-degree murder, accused of killing the unarmed Stanley in that stairwell early on the morning of June 12, 2011. Wells allegedly shot Stanley, a Schenectady High School basketball player, as Wells and his friends broke up a teenage party at 730 Bridge St.
Wells’ trial before state Supreme Court Justice Michael V. Coccoma is now in its fifth week of testimony. So far, the prosecution has entered into evidence more than 500 exhibits, including photographs and other evidence.
Thackeray said he saw Stanley holding his chest, but it didn’t register that Stanley had been shot.
Thackeray also said he saw Wells flee the home east on Bridge Street.
Mueller also showed Thackeray the black .44 magnum revolver that authorities believe was the murder weapon. Thackeray identified the gun as the one that was used to kill Stanley.
On cross-examination, Wells’ defense attorney, Cheryl Coleman, questioned Thackeray’s account, going over it with him moment by moment.
Coleman took Thackeray from the point he said he heard the first shot while standing in the street through to him banging on the door to get back inside.
“Did you hear more shots when you were banging on the door?” Coleman asked.
Thackeray said he did not.
As he got to the point where he got through the door, Coleman asked again, “you still haven’t heard more shots, right?” Thackeray said he had not.
Later, as Coleman pressed him on details, Thackeray indicated that Coleman was confusing him.
“Well, you’re confusing me, sir,” Coleman responded.
Coleman also pressed Thackeray on lies he admitted to telling police in a statement hours after the shooting.
Thackeray admitted to making up one individual. He even told police that he confronted the shooter, punching him and essentially disarming him. That wasn’t true either.
His initial description of the shooter also was off, Coleman suggested. Thackeray allegedly estimated the shooter as 5 feet, 7 inches tall and husky. Coleman had Wells stand up, then said Wells is 6 feet, 1 inches tall. He’s also thin.
If that first gunshot that Thackeray heard while standing in the street was actually a gunshot, the timing would appear to conflict with earlier testimony from another witness from that stairwell.
Witness Marliek Roscoe testified he witnessed the shooting, identifying Wells as the shooter. Roscoe described seeing Wells firing the first shot, then hearing three successive shots as Roscoe fled to a second-floor balcony.
Both Thackeray and Roscoe testified they received nothing for their testimony. Neither has a criminal record.