Testimony began Tuesday in the attempted homicide trial of a man charged with shooting a 16-year-old La Follette High School student during a fight last year near the school.
The lawyer for Duan S. Briggs, 22, of Madison, told jurors in his opening statement that while his client was present during the fight on Linda Vista Road, about two blocks from the school, Briggs did not fire a gun and is instead being scapegoated by others.
“Physical evidence doesn’t lie, but people do,” David Bolles told the jury. “Duan Briggs did not shoot Isaiah Davis.”
The shooting, on Sept. 26, prompted added security measures at the school, including the use of metal detectors to check students as they entered the building.
The fight that led to the shooting happened a few weeks after another fight involving some of the same people. Davis, now 17, broke up the earlier fight, Assistant District Attorney Dan Hess told the jury. Jamie Hayes, 18, didn’t like that and later set up a fight against Davis, Hess said.
Davis was getting the better of Hayes during the Sept. 26 fight, prompting Hayes’ brother, Jaishawn Hayes, to step in, but he didn’t do much better against Davis, Hess said. As the fight ended, Hess said, Briggs pulled out a gun and fired shots, and one bullet struck Davis in his backside as he ran away.
No gun was recovered, Hess said. Witnesses were reluctant to talk to police at first, Hess said, but everyone who eventually came forward said Briggs fired the shots.
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Bolles said, however, that police failed to check bullet casings left at the scene for fingerprints or DNA and did not check the Hayes brothers and Briggs or their clothing for gunshot residue.
“They did not take advantage of existing technology to find out what happened,” Bolles said. Instead, he said, the Hayes brothers blamed Briggs, who had no motivation to shoot anyone.
Bolles said Briggs at first also lied, initially telling police he wasn’t at the fight because “he feared people would lie to protect their families, and he was right.”
Both Briggs and Jamie Hayes are charged with being a party to attempted first-degree intentional homicide. A criminal complaint states that Jamie Hayes told Briggs to fire the shots. They are also charged with being a party to first-degree reckless endangerment, for a bullet that struck a vehicle being driven near the scene of the shooting.
Jamie Hayes is scheduled to stand trial on the charges in September.
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