A Bryan man who said Trey Davis was his closest friend appeared uneasy Monday as he sat in the witness stand, describing a conversation he recalled overhearing the night before local rap producer Tommy Andrade was shot to death three years ago.
"I heard Chad [Davis] and Trey talking under their breath - mumbling," Travis Crockett said, appearing somewhat reluctant to elaborate as multiple members of the Davis family sat in the courtroom.
"They appeared to be making plans for the evening - to go to this guy's house and attempt to get their money back," he added after prosecutors prompted him to continue. "It sounded like they were going to kick the door in and put guns at him and taser him."
Even though the two brothers never used the words "kill" or "murder" as they talked in Trey Davis' bedroom in August 2003, Crockett - listening from the bathroom - got the feeling trouble was on the horizon, he told the jury.
"They said, 'If the [expletive] hits the fan, we're going to take care of business'" he said, adding that he heard one of the brothers say, "If guns go off, guns go off."
"It sounded like there was going to be a little shootout, maybe," he explained.
Crockett, who also is known by friends as "Riverbottom Slim," was called by prosecutors to testify as the capital murder trial of Chad Davis stretched into its second week. Davis' younger brother, Trey, faces a similar charge but still is awaiting trial.
Prosecutors have said they believe Chad Davis was the head of a multi-state drug trafficking ring when he organized the bloody raid on Andrade's south Brazos County home using three hired "enforcers" from Georgia. The confrontation was intended as revenge after Andrade - a fellow cocaine trafficker - previously stole $100,000 from Davis in a deal gone bad, authorities have said.
By the time the incident was over, Andrade was dead of a single gunshot wound to the chest, and all three gunmen were wounded - one fatally.
Defense attorney Dan Cogdell isn't expected to begin presenting his case until later this week, but he said during an opening statement last Tuesday that Chad Davis never intended for the incident to escalate into a gunfight. His client only wanted Andrade beat up, he said.
Crockett's testimony, however, contradicted that. The 24-year-old, who lived on and off with the Davis family before their arrests in January 2004, said Monday that the brothers had the conversation in Trey Davis' room just hours before the shooting is believed to have taken place.
As Crockett passed by the bedroom that night to use the bathroom he saw an array of firearms and a stun gun spread out on a table, he said. Also at the house, he said, were Atlanta-area residents Bradley Padrick and Boris "Short Fat" Mogilevich - who have been described by prosecutors as the two gunmen who narrowly survived the bungled shooting.
The duo were described to Crockett as cousins of the Davis brothers, the witness said, explaining that after that night he would never see the "cousins" again.
Crockett said he always thought the Davis brothers were drug dealers but never questioned them about it because it was none of his business. Likewise, he said, he didn't question them that night about what he heard, even though the whole situation made him feel "kind of queasy."
After seeing media reports of the shooting the next day, Crockett said he did ask Trey Davis if he was involved in the matter, but he never got an answer.
"He was acting a little queasy himself," he said, adding later that he also saw Trey Davis cleaning what looked like blood stains out of his truck.
But Crockett also was an alcoholic at the time and his memory can't be trusted, the defense said during cross-examination. The Davis family friend estimated he drank up to a dozen beers on the night he heard the conversation. Crockett also smoked marijuana that morning, he said.
Others taking the witness stand Monday included an Atlanta-area man who said he had been flown to Texas a month before the shooting, but wanted no part in what was being discussed, and the mother of a drug trafficker, who used her nursing experience to examine two of the injured gunmen in Georgia.
"I just wanted to go home," said Adam "Chico" Goodman, 27, as he addressed the jury wearing an oversized black T-shirt that failed to cover a large tribal tattoo crawling up his neck. "I wasn't interested in anything that might have taken place."
Goodman flew to Texas with Mogilevich for what he thought would be a laid-back trip to visit some of Mogilevich's friends, he said. But soon after meeting the Davis brothers at the airport they began talking about finding a man - described only as "some Spanish or Mexican kid" - who had stolen money from them, he said.
"I guess they thought me and Boris might be able to find the dude and maybe rough him up, tell him to pay them back - I have no idea," Goodman said, explaining that the next day the group drove around to several mobile home parks looking for the man.
But Goodman - who described on the stand a varied arrest history that included burglary, drugs and attempted murder - said he wanted nothing to do with the matter. It wasn't his fight, he wasn't that hard up for money and he knew it was the sort of situation that was bound to escalate, he said.
"It wasn't like he's going to have $100,000 in his pocket and give it back," he said, explaining that any thief bold enough to steal that much money probably wasn't going to back down too easily. "I figured it might go where I didn't want it to go.
"People get backed into a corner, and they do what they do."
So Goodman told the Davis brothers to take him back to the airport, he said. Several weeks later, he said he would see Mogilevich and Padrick in an Atlanta-area hotel room - crudely patched up and suffering multiple gunshot wounds.
That was about the same time Kay "Mama Duke" Hughes attended to Padrick and Mogilevich, she added Monday morning. The woman, who has been a operating room nurse for about three decades, said she was summoned to the hotel room in the middle of the night.
She knew both the men through her son, Russell Hughes, who has been described as a lieutenant in the drug ring. She also occasionally ran drugs for her son, she said. Both men needed to go to the hospital, she quickly surmised that night.
One bullet shattered Mogilevich's shoulder, she said, while another creased his head and yet another appeared to have traveled through his hip. Padrick, meanwhile, had been shot in the neck. Both were lucky to be alive, she said.
"If [Mogilevich] had been any taller, he'd be dead," she said of the head wound, which left a chunk of his scalp at the crime scene. "The guy whose been shot like that is pretty darn lucky if it doesn't hit anything major."
Both men eventually did check into separate hospitals, but they left against doctors' advice to avoid answering questions from police, she said.
Padrick, who is expected to testify for the prosecution Tuesday or Wednesday, has since pleaded guilty to burglary and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Mogilevich still is at large.
Of all the gunmen, Hughes said the one she knew best was Jesse Mancuso, the third man who was found dead in Andrade's driveway on the morning of the shooting. He was described as her son's "do-boy," a chauffeur of sorts who did odd jobs.
"He was very excited about coming to Texas," she said, explaining that it was her son who bought him the brand-new all-black suit he later would be found dead in. "He thought this was his big break. He thought he was going to move up in the group."
Autopsy photos of Mancuso, which also were displayed to the jury Monday, showed he took a bullet to the arm that shattered inside him and another bullet that entered his back - cutting through his lung and jugular vein before exiting his neck and grazing his chin.
He probably would have died within three to five minutes of the bullet piercing his jugular, a forensic pathologist testified.
Prosecutors are expected to continue calling witnesses at 9 a.m. Tuesday when the trial continues in the 85th District Courtroom of the Brazos County Courthouse.
• Craig Kapitan's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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