The trial of Tony Ray Boykins Jr., 28, began Monday at the Jefferson County Courthouse. Boykins is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Brian K. Smith, 21, on July 27, 2011. Special to The Commercial/William Harvey
Greg Robinson, Tony Ray Boykins Jr.’s defense attorney, asks questions during the first day of the murder trial Monday. Special to The Commercial/William Harvey
Multiple witnesses testified Monday to seeing the argument that led up to the 2011 shooting death of Brian K. Smith in the opening day of the trial of the Pine Bluff man accused of killing him.
In cross examination, the defense worked to poke holes in the witnesses’ testimony and cast doubt that any of them had actually seen Tony Ray Boykins Jr., 28, shoot Smith, who was 21 when he was killed on July 27, 2011.
Testimony will continue Tuesday the trial of Boykins, who is charged with first-degree murder.
Smith was shot in the back and taken to Jefferson Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
Boykins has pleaded not guilty.
“We (prosecutors and the defense) disagree on who shot Smith but we know it wasn’t Tony,” said attorney Greg Robinson in his opening statement to the jury of seven men and six women, including an alternate, Monday afternoon. “Once you hear the story, you’ll say it wasn’t Tony too.”
Robinson and attorney Erin West are representing Boykins.
Prosecutors say the incident occurred at an apartment complex at 1301 S. Maple St. in the late evening hours of July 26, extending into the early morning hours of July 27 and actually started with a disagreement between Smith and Simone Walker, who lived in an apartment at the complex with her infant child.
Deputy Prosecutor Cymber Gieringer said Smith was the father of Walker’s child and had gone to the apartments to see the infant. Gieringer and Deputy Prosecutor Rik Ramsey are representing the state.
Testifying for the state, Walker said she and Smith got into an argument after they returned to the apartment, with her on the balcony of the small complex and Smith downstairs.
Boykins’ brother — Terrell Boykins, who lived in another apartment in the complex — reportedly interjected himself into the argument and police were called, according to Erica Mixon and Mixon’s sister, Tia Sykes, who also lived in the apartment complex.
Mixon, Sykes and Walker all said police told them to go back into the apartments and calm down. The police left and Tony Boykins arrived a short time later, reportedly at the request of his brother, who didn’t own a car and needed a ride.
Walker told Ramsey that after police left, the argument started again, then became physical when Terrell Boykins hit her.
“Brian defended me and they started to fight,” Walker said.
During the fight, Terrell Boykins reportedly pulled Smith’s shirt up over his head and was hitting him while pulling him toward Boykins’ apartment door. Walker said she tried to pull Smith back away from Terrell Boykins when Tony Boykins ran up the stairs.
“He shot Brian,” Walker said. “I seen him the second time. The first time he missed.”
Walker said after the shooting, Tony Boykins left the scene.
“I know he wasn’t there no more,” she said. “Brian was laying on his back in the middle of Terrell’s apartment.”
On cross examination by West, Walker said she didn’t see Smith come up the stairs and “didn’t see the gun.”
She also denied hitting Terrell Boykins or being physically involved in the altercation.
“I didn’t hit anybody,” she said. “I was hit.”
Mixon, who is Walker’s cousin, told Gieringer that Tony Boykins, who had been on the second-floor balcony of the apartment complex when the fight started, “went downstairs, popped the hood and got a gun,” which was reportedly concealed in the battery compartment of the vehicle.
“Tony stopped at the top of the stairs, reached in and shot twice,” Mixon said.
Asked by West who appeared to be winning the fight when Tony Boykins reportedly fired the shots, Mixon said, “Terrell was winning the fight.”
She also denied telling police who interviewed her that “no one seen the gun” when questioned by West, but later during questioning by Gieringer said that a statement she made to police saying “yes I seen a small black gun” was accurate.
Sykes, who is 16 and the sister of Mixon, testified that she was outside her apartment when she saw Walker and Terrell Boykins arguing when Tony Boykins, who she knew as “Booger,” pulled up and come up the stairs with a gun.
Sykes also said she started yelling, “Move guys. He’s got a gun. He’s got a gun.”
Gieringer said Smith was killed by a .22-caliber bullet to the right lung, and a shell casing recovered at the scene matched a bullet that was recovered from Smith’s body.
Another tenant of the apartments, Marissa Gilbert, testified that she was downstairs when she heard the fight and said that Terrell Boykins, Walker, Smith, Mixon and two other males, who she identified as “Pig” and “Jerome,” were all involved, but eventually it became a one-on-one fight between Terrell Boykins and Smith.
“Everybody else was watching,” she said. “I seen Tony shoot. He pointed the gun at Brian and he shot.”
She also denied making a statement to police saying she couldn’t say she saw him shoot.
The trial is being conducted in First Division Circuit Court with Circuit Judge Berlin C. Jones presiding and is expected to end Tuesday night.