Jurors watch taped police interview of Anthony Orr Jr.'s alleged killer
Jurors on Wednesday afternoon watched the videotaped police interview of the York City man accused of murdering Anthony Orr Jr.
During about 50 minutes of questioning by city Detectives Andy Baez and Travis Sowers, Gen-uine "G" Alston denied shooting the 36-year-old Orr in the 100 block of Lafayette Street near Penn Park on June 24, 2018.
Alston kept his arms crossed akimbo throughout the entire interview and claimed not to know Orr, a well-known community advocate. He never appeared frightened or worried about being charged with the shooting.
At the time of the interview, two days after the shooting, Orr was still clinging to life at York Hospital.
"Your own (aunt) accused you ... because people are telling her you were involved," Baez told Alston in the video. "That in itself says volumes. ... I don't believe you at all."
As the interview went on, Alston provided more names of people who could give him an alibi and insisted he never left his home.
"It's a mistaken image," Alston told the detectives. "How could they see me if I was never there? I have proof."
That proof never materialized, at least not to the detectives' satisfaction.
Alston told them he knew nothing about the shooting — other than family members calling him to say they had heard he was involved.
"They were saying, 'I hear you shot somebody,'" he said in the videotaped interview.
Told by Baez that there was security footage of the shooting, Alston blurted out, "Does it show the person? It can't be me."
The jury also saw that security footage, but very little of value could be seen in it because it was too far away.
Sowers took the stand Wednesday, Nov. 13, and said no one could vouch for Alston's whereabouts at the time of the shooting.
Sowers described Alston's demeanor as "relaxed and calm" throughout most of his interview.
'100% positive': Also testifying Wednesday was Lamont Padgett, who was friends with Orr and who testified he saw Alston fleeing the scene of the shooting while holding a sawed-off shotgun.
"I'm 100% positive," Padgett told jurors.
Padgett testified he doesn't know Alston and had never seen the man before but got a look at the shooter's face.
"He had a book bag in his right hand, the gun was in his left hand," Padgett said. "Once he ran past me, I didn't bother to turn around ... because I seen the gun and I was nervous. I didn't know if he'd seen me or not."
Padgett said he was in the area to drop off a friend and waved at Orr when he saw his friend sitting in his SUV. Padgett said he parked three or four cars behind Orr's parked SUV.
"As soon as I parked, I shut the engine off and heard a loud boom," he testified, then saw the shooter running past him holding the sawed-off shotgun.
Padgett was shown a photo lineup of eight men the day of the homicide and circled one of the photos, saying he was 65% sure it was the right person, he testified.
"I was pretty much going by facial structure," he testified, adding he never thought that man was the shooter and told police as much.
Shown a second lineup on July 27, 2018, Padgett circled Alston's photo and told officers at the time he was sure Alston was the shooter.
Asked by chief deputy prosecutor John Hamme on Wednesday how sure he is now that Alston is the man he saw running with a gun, Padgett said he's "100% positive."
During cross-examination, defense attorney Roy Galloway went after Padgett about initially choosing a different man in the first lineup he was shown. He also reminded Padgett that the man told investigators he only saw the shooter's face for a second or two.
"I know who I saw, OK?" Padgett said.
Second witness: Vanessa Bones also took the witness stand on Wednesday, telling jurors she and family members were getting ready to have a cookout at Penn Park when she spotted a man she later identified as Alston.
"I was sitting on a bench, talking to my mother," she said. "I noticed a guy briskly walking up the street, fumbling with a book bag. I noticed him because of his shirt — it was red, black and white."
A short time later, Bones said, she heard "a big boom" then saw Alston run back down the street and dart into a breezeway while carrying what she described as a mini shotgun.
"Before he turned (the corner) he looked right over at me," she recalled. "I stopped because I seen a gun."
At that point, Bones said, she focused on getting her child and mother "out of that situation."
During questioning, Bones admitted that at first, she didn't tell detectives the entire truth about what she saw.
"Initially I said I didn't see his face, but I did," she testified. "People don't talk around here. I was afraid."
Bones told Hamme that she didn't want to be testifying, "but you made me a witness in something I didn't want to be" part of.
Bones wasn't shown a photo lineup until Oct. 24 of this year. She picked Alston's photo out of the lineup and said in court she's positive he was the man who shot Orr.
On cross-examination, Bones acknowledged Orr was her cousin.
Ride to work: Less than 90 minutes after Orr was shot, Alston got a ride to his ES3 warehouse job with co-worker Christian Sammy.
"He expressed to me that some people were looking for him," Sammy testified Wednesday. "That he was getting random text messages from people about a homicide."
On cross-examination, Sammy confirmed that Alston said he had no involvement with the shooting.
No motive: Hamme has told jurors that the prosecution won't be able to reveal a motive in the killing.
"Sometimes in life, senseless acts happen and you can't say why," Hamme said Wednesday during his opening statement.
There had been a charity basketball tournament in the park that day called the Trey & Boo Classic, according to Hamme, and there were a lot of people in the area.
Galloway argued in his opening statement that Alston is innocent.
"I've never seen a case with more reasonable doubt than this one," he said. "The real killer is out on the street and we're going to show (that to) you."
There is no physical evidence against Alston, according to Galloway — no gun, no fingerprints, no DNA.
"This is speculation (and) rumors, and that's what they have," he said of the prosecution's case. "My client had no nexus or connection to (Orr). He's quiet, he's timid, he's nonviolent.
"Why are we here?" Galloway asked. "There is no evidence."
Retaliation? Local attorney Sandra Thompson has told The York Dispatch that Orr, known to loved ones as "Bouk," was shot because he was reaching out to people "who were involved in wrong" and trying to convince them to change their ways.
"They retaliated against him," she said. "He (was) involved in positivity and breaking up negativity, even to his own detriment. He's just a stand-up guy."
Thompson described Orr as a family man and a community mentor to both young men in general and to men recently released from prison.
Alston, 22, formerly of the 1200 block of West King Street, is charged with first- and third-degree murder.
— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.