Quentric Williams’ attorney said the gunshot that killed a man last May at the Starlight Drive-In Theater was meant as a warning shot.
“Was he attempting to protect himself and his girlfriend when he fired that gun?” attorney Russell Z. Hetzel asked the jury. “Quentric thinks the man was going to shoot.”
During his opening statements for Williams’ murder trial, Hetzel acknowledged that his client, a convicted felon, was carrying a gun illegally, led police on a high-speed chase and even fired a deadly shot at 28-year-old martial arts expert Mitt Lenix.
But Williams wasn’t trying to kill anybody, Hetzel told the jury.
“He pulls out his gun and he aims high,” the attorney said.
Williams, 32, is charged with murder, multiple counts of felony murder — killing someone during the commission of a felony — aggravated assault, possession of a weapon during the commission of a felony, and multiple counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer and fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer.
He shot Lenix then sped off, with police chasing him — at speeds reaching 100 mph with his car ramming police cars more than once, and throwing more than $10,000 in cash out the window along the way — to the edge of Gwinnett County, where he wrecked and fled on foot.
Prosecutors said Lenix was trying to find someone to jump-start his car early the morning of May 15 — so that he could listen to the movie through his stereo — when he approached the nearest vehicle, Williams’ rented Ford pickup truck.
“He got within feet of the car and was shot,” DeKalb County prosecutor Zina B. Gumbs told the jury. “He killed a man and left him to die.”
Kristina Guede was on a date with Lenix that night and saw him take his last steps in search of help for his stranded SUV from the occupants of the Ford pickup.
“I heard what sounded like firecrackers to me and a loud scream,” Guede testified. “Mitt was falling to his knees, and the vehicle started driving slowly by. He actually paused there at (Lenix’s SUV) … until he drove away.”
Angel Thomas testified that she was lying on Williams’ lap in the rear seat of the truck that night when suddenly he pushed her down below the seat.
Williams fired once, she said, and she asked why.
“He said, ‘A guy was ducking and dodging outside the car and he went for the door,’” Thomas said, recounting what happened that night. “I didn’t think the man was shot, let alone dead.”
Questioning R.S. Harris, a DeKalb County police detective who was working off-duty security at the drive-in the night of the shooting, Gumbs wanted to know whether it was uncommon for people to walk around during a movie.
“How do people get to the concession stand or to the restrooms?” she asked. “Would they drive?”
“They would normally walk,” Harris said.
“So one would expect to see pedestrians in a drive-in movie?” Gumbs asked.
“Yes,” Harris said.