Key witness testifies in third day of Malachi Barnes murder trial
The trial of two men charged with aggravated murder in the death of a Toledo toddler in 2018 reached its third day Thursday, and a key witness in the case against K'veon Giles and Matthew Smith took the stand.
Andre White is a third suspect in the case, but he took a plea deal in exchange for testifying against Giles and Smith. He was on the stand for more than three hours on Thursday.
Giles and Smith are accused of shooting into a car on I-75 on Thanksgiving Day, 2018. Three-year-old Malachi Barnes was a passenger in that car and was killed in the altercation.
During his testimony, White alleged that Giles and Smith planned to kill a man. During that testimony, prosecutors showed photos of White and Smith at America's Best Hotel attempting to get a room. White said that's when Smith noticed a man at the hotel with whom Smith and Giles were feuding.
"And just before we were going to leave out Smith told me ... he looked to the right and he seen an op," said White. When the attorney asked him to clarify what he meant by "op" he said, "A person that you are beefing with."
White said they circled the parking lot, drove across the street and parked in a driveway, saying they were waiting for a man named Ivory Carter to leave.
"They were planning to kill him," he said. "They were debating whether to shoot them there or wait until they leave."
When asked to clarify who he was referring to as "they," he responded "K'Veon Giles, Daevyon Maddox, and Matt Smith."
White went on to testify that everyone in the car had guns.
"Lang the driver. I'm behind the driver seat. The middle is Maddox to the right behind the passenger is Giles. The front passenger is Smith and the trunk is Coby Wright," White recalled.
When the car pulled out of the hotel, White said they followed it.
"They were in the car saying, 'Hurry up, speed up, we got to catch them,'" he said. "As we pulled up to the side of the car, Smith had his window down. Giles had his window down. Smith began to shoot first. Giles engaged in it, but the way he was shooting he was leaned back shooting so Maddox could shoot outside that window as well."
Malachi Barnes was shot and killed in the back seat. Ivory Carter was not in the victim's car.
White also testified that he was given a letter from another inmate while at the Lucas County Jail. He said the letter came from K'veon Giles.
"What's going, Free?" said White, reading from the letter. "They just brung my co-defendant down here from Detroit. He in 6 North Bay over there. Don't give him this letter, just let him read it and then rip it up. Dre this Fredo on Bloods don't take don't even cooperate with them. Tell them take you back to the D. Your statement is going to stroke us all, gone stroke all three of us. They don't got no evidence on none of us."
The defense attorneys tried to poke holes in White's testimony, pointing out that he has several guns but never told investigators.
White was convicted of second degree murder in Detroit. He said he didn't shoot anyone but did supply the gun used in the crime.
Testimony in the case will continue Friday.