FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Days after Diasha Fitts was shot to death as she rode in a van after an evening at the Eagles casino, the suspect in the killing, Demaury Haywood, was picked up by the U.S. Marshalls at FireKeepers in Battle Creek, Michigan.
He had two cell phones on him and was driving a blue pickup truck registered to a female friend, a U.S. Marshall testified Wednesday.
The night Fitts was killed, Haywood went to his “girlfriend or side girlfriend,” according to lead homicide detective Liza Anglin, where he stayed until around 8 p.m. the next day.
The girlfriend testified in court Wednesday at Haywood’s murder trial that he stayed at her house up to several times a week and that he used her Cash App accounts for financial transactions.
It’s no wonder, prosecutors hint, that the 602 area code phone that Haywood was allegedly using on Feb. 19 of this year was just one of many cell phones he used, and now, is nowhere to be found.
From the moment detectives from the Fort Wayne Police Department retrieved the cell phone of Trevon Giddens — accused of working with Haywood from inside the Fraternal Order of Eagles charity casino on Feb. 19, sending texts as to what their “target” Brandon Golden was wearing, doing, and even when he was “running out of money” and fixing to leave — they matched Giddens’ phone to a phone Haywood was using with a 602 area code.
Golden drove away from the Eagles at 11:24 p.m. that night, a minute before a friend of Giddens left the casino. That friend, who WANE 15 will not identify, is now too afraid to testify, the court heard today.
Seven minutes after he left the Eagles on Bluffton Road, Golden, the van’s driver, was careening back into the Eagles parking lot, screaming for help as Fitts lay slumped in the back seat, dying from a bullet wound to the neck that pierced her jaw and jugular vein.
Police were quickly directed to the crime scene at Winchester and Lower Huntington roads about a mile and a half away from the Eagles location to find shell casings in the roadway and shattered glass that looked like it had come from a vehicle.
Giddens was brought in for questioning after he was seen in the casino’s surveillance video, watching Golden and Fitts, using his phone to take a photo of the pair and then sitting down to play blackjack with them.
One of the moments in the surveillance video shown in court is Fitts walking out of the casino happily. “See y’all later,” she says.
Under Anglin’s questioning during a police interview a day after the shooting, the detective told Giddens she had enough evidence to charge him with murder. Giddens then identified DeMaury Haywood and Devonte Travier as the duo who ambushed Golden and Fitts on Winchester Road. And Haywood was his “cuz,” someone he was close to up until the shooting.
Texts also seem to confirm their duplicity. Haywood on the 602 phone tells Giddens to go outside – he is in a wheelchair – and report on the vehicle Golden is leaving in. Giddens sends photo and video.
The final text at 11:27 p.m. “he on Winchester,” is the time police say the shooting occurred. By 11:31 p.m., Golden is back at the Eagles, seeking help.
“Cuz” is how Haywood was saved into Giddens phone, not his real name, which left room for defense attorney Robert Scremin to suggest again and again that it doesn’t prove Haywood belongs to the 602 number.
It will be the texts and phone calls and the testimony of Giddens who appeared in court Tuesday that will be the foundation of the prosecution’s case. But there’s also DNA evidence yet to come, DNA was found on the steering wheel of a small dark Nissan Versa believed to be the car Haywood and Travier were in when the shooting happened.
FWPD homicide detective Luke MacDonald mapped the route the 602 area code cell phone took that night, using specialized locator technology. MacDonald has become something of an expert on cell tower technology, testifying in court prior to this case on the same subject.
MacDonald testified that the 602 and Giddens cell phones were in constant communication. The 602 number closes in at the Winchester location by 11:24 p.m. and then goes silent. By 11:36 p.m., the 602 phone is at the girlfriend’s home on Harrison Street on the city’s south side and stays there until 8 p.m. the next day. That’s when he’s tracked to Giddens’ residence. The two made plans in texts for Haywood to buy a gun from Giddens for $500.
The gun, a .45 caliber Glock 30, was found in the blue truck, rented by another female friend of Haywood’s, at FireKeepers.
On Wednesday, the prosecution played phone calls from the Noble County Jail where Haywood was being held after his arrest at Firekeepers, calls that were nearly unintelligible, although the jury had a transcript to follow along. At one point, however, it’s clear enough to hear Haywood tell Travier “Just say to my wife, please don’t say anything.” He also gives Travier a couple more phone numbers.
Just to make the story more confusing, Travier, the alleged accomplice who is waiting for his murder trial to take place in March for the same crime, drives a Kia into a ditch on a snowy, foggy night on Feb. 27. He also hit a pole.
Homicide detectives Darrin Strayer and Anglin raked the ditch after the Kia was towed and found a gun and a car key. It’s not clear yet how that gun fits in to the story.
On Thursday, the jury will likely hear from the woman who rented the blue truck Haywood was driving when he was arrested on Feb. 26 at FireKeepers Casino. And more testimony should be heard on the relevance of the ditched Kia.
Court will resume Thursday at 9 a.m. Closing arguments are expected to take place Friday morning. Chief counsel Tesa Helge and deputy prosecutor Alik Hall are representing the state. Scremin is handling the defense by himself. Allen Superior Court Judge David Zent is presiding.