FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — It’s difficult to believe such a covert operation would be needed to best a rival over a woman.
But that’s what Allen County prosecutors believe occurred when the suspect, Demaury Haywood, reportedly worked in concert with two people to target Brandon Golden, aka BG, on Feb. 19 at the Fraternal Order of Eagles charity casino on Bluffton Road.
The tragic outcome of the plan was Golden’s companion for the evening, Diasha “Twink” Fitts, the victim.
Tuesday marked the first day of the murder trial for Haywood who heard two people testify against him.
Chief counsel Tesa Helge worked to get Trevon Giddens, the man who sent messages from inside the casino to Haywood, and Golden, the alleged target of the crime now in protective custody at the Allen County jail, to share their sides of the story.
However, both would barely acknowledge that they knew Haywood or Devonte Travier, who charged with acting in concert with Haywood and is scheduled to face a jury in March.
At first Giddens, who is in a wheelchair, said he knew Devonte Travier “a little bit,” but under cross examination, defense attorney Robert Scremin made much of the statements Giddens made during a four-hour police interview where he apparently claimed he “didn’t know Travier from a can of paint,” then two hours later picked him out of a lineup.
As one would expect, Haywood and Giddens were close leading up to the homicide, but sitting there testifying against “cuz” made him distance himself from someone he’d “known his entire life,” he told prosecutors. When it comes to street justice, detractors don’t care whether you are in or out of prison.
Many text messages between Giddens and Haywood show that Giddens, a frequent visitor at the casino, tracked Golden and Fitts as they played blackjack that day and even sent a photo of the pair to Haywood.
Playing the lookout, Haywood was allegedly tipped off by Giddens when Golden and Fitts left the casino at 11:24 p.m. a minute before Travier exited, according to the probable cause affidavit. Golden testified he cut through the Shell gas station and was on Winchester Road when gunshots were fired at his van at Lower Huntington Road.
Golden raced back to the Eagles for help as Fitts crawled into the back seat for safety, but it was too late to save her. Casino security Jack Woodruff, a former FWPD officer, said first they had to yank open the van doors and then held her hand as she breathed her last in “agonal respirations.”
After the shooting, text messages indicate that Giddens asked Haywood if he wanted to sell the pole (slang) for his gun or “is it in the blender?” he asked.
Haywood wanted to know how much. Then Giddens offered .45 caliber Glock with 10 clips to Haywood and Giddens sold it to him for around $500.
Helge, whose team includes deputy prosecutor Alik Hall and Anglin, said a .45 caliber Glock 30 handgun was recovered from a blue 2021 Dodge Ram from Enterprise Rental in Fort Wayne, which Giddens identified as the truck Haywood was driving “when he picked up the Glock.”
Giddens said in subsequent conversations with “cuz” that Haywood told him someone had been killed “but it wasn’t the target,” and held two fingers to his temple in a Facetime call. Haywood blamed the shooting on Devonte, Giddens said.
“He acted cool like nothing had happened,” Giddens testified. Haywood also told Giddens to get rid of his phone “but I couldn’t because it was on a plan,” Giddens said.
When Giddens was first questioned by detectives, he didn’t want to tell them he had evidence, but when confronted with the text messages, he talked and identified the two suspects.
Scremin pointed out inconsistencies and wanted the jury to believe that Giddens was coerced into talking in order to avoid jail.
“If he didn’t talk, he could face up to 40 years in prison,” Scremin said. Anglin reportedly told Giddens he would “get charged with conspiracy for murder,” and then Giddens wrote the names down.
“I didn’t see anything with my eyes. I didn’t see anything,” Giddens said. “If it’s not good to release me, then just get me a lawyer.”
“They didn’t let you call your mother or make any phone calls?” Scremin asked.
“No, they did not,” Giddens replied. There was even confusion about Haywood’s Arizona area code number – 609 – that Giddens testified under Scremin wasn’t Haywood’s number.
More obfuscation came when Golden came to testify, escorted by several bailiffs. A tipoff to his attitude came when Allen Superior Court Judge David Zent leaned over to ask him again if he was there “to tell the whole truth.”
“Yeah,” Golden said. Golden described Fitts as a close friend and testified he was a “frequent visitor” to the casino. A search in Odyssey where court documents reside shows that Golden is serving a 60-day sentence at the Huntington County Jail for misdemeanor marijuana possession.
Scremin pointed out that in July, Golden said he never met Haywood, but Golden said after the shooting, he got a call from Haywood who said “he was sorry for his loss.” When Golden said this, he stared at Haywood and glared.
But under cross examination, Golden said he couldn’t see who shot him from the Gray Nissan, or describe the car and say he saw Haywood.
As Golden left the court, one bailiff stood as if to protect Haywood from Golden as he walked close to the defendant, three bailiffs guiding him as he walked out.
Golden’s emotion at the time of the shooting was evident in the EMS call played in court. In the background, Golden screams for help.
“They shot my barber,” he cried out. “They shot her. They shot her. They shot her.”
The trial will continue around 9 a.m. Wednesday.