Defense calls no witnesses in Moss Point teen's cap murder trial

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - By Patrice Clark – bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Capital murder suspect Tevin Benjamin will soon find out if he'll spend the rest of his life in prison. Closing arguments are Friday morning in the case.

Benjamin is the third teenager charged with the 2008 murder of Michael David Porter. Terry Hye and Darwin Wells have already been convicted for their role in the death.

The Hattiesburg man and his wife stopped at Moss Point gas station to get directions to their grandson's football game when Porter was shot.

On day two of Tevin Benjamin's trial, the court heard from the 15-year-old's friend, Alonzo Kelly. Kelly has already served time in jail for not telling police about Porter being gunned down at the Moss Point gas station.

During his testimony, the jury struggled to understand what Kelly was saying. Kelly testified Terry Hye, Darwin Wells, and Benjamin were together before the murder happened and were headed to the gas station to "hit a lick."

"It mean get money, any type of way to get money. It mean robbery too. It can mean robbery," Kelly said.

District Attorney Tony Lawrence tried to help clarify Kelly's testimony for the jury by asking a series of short questions. Lawrence asked him who walked to the Conoco station that night.

"Terry, Tevin and Darwin," Kelly replied.

Kelly testified he didn't go to the store because he feared getting in trouble. Instead, he claims he stood on a nearby road. That's when Kelly said he heard gunfire, followed by the three boys running from the store.

However during cross-examination, when defense attorneys asked Kelly if he actually saw Benjamin attack Michael David Porter, he said, "No."

FBI's Robert Lambeth was the prosecution's next witness. He stated that during interrogation Benjamin had initially claimed he was unaware of a shooting, but later said that he had heard Porter was shot by only one person.

After two days of testimony, the state rested. But in a surprise move, the defense also rested without calling a single witness or putting Tevin Benjamin on the stand. Benjamin's lawyers did ask that the entire case be thrown out due to lack of evidence; however, the judge denied that request.

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