Defense attorneys for a Louisville man accused of killing two men in a car on Appian Way about three years ago say the defendant did not act guilty immediately following the shooting because he had acted in self-defense.
Prosecutors, however, say Carlos Ordway, 29, fired shots into a car that had crashed, killing Patrick Lewis, 21, and Rodrieques Turner, 25, both of Louisville. After firing those fatal shots, prosecutors say, Ordway then attempted to car-jack two vehicles in the area.
The contrasting viewpoints on what unfolded the night of Aug. 11, 2007, were offered during opening statements in the capital murder trial that began Tuesday morning in Fayette Circuit Court. The trial before Judge Pamela Goodwine is expected to end by July 29.
Investigators say Ordway was riding in the front passenger seat of the vehicle that was driven by Turner. Lewis was seated directly behind Ordway as the trio traveled from Louisville to Lexington.
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The three men were heading to Lexington because Ordway had drugs to sell and Turner had made the arrangements with the buyers, defense attorney Sam Cox said. Ordway did not know Lewis, a longtime friend of Turner, was also going to Lexington. They picked up Lewis before leaving town.
Cox said Turner and Lewis robbed Ordway while in the area of Armstrong Mill Road and Appian Way. Lewis put a gun to the back of Ordway's head, and Turner also had a firearm. Ordway handed Turner some Ecstasy pills and gave Lewis cocaine. But, Cox said, Lewis wasn't satisfied.
"He had no choice but to fight for his life," Cox said of Ordway.
The defense said Ordway grabbed Turner's gun while Lewis was putting the drugs in his underwear and then shot Lewis. Ordway then shot Turner and the car crashed, Cox said.
Cox said Ordway shot the men again once he was outside the car because Lewis had started to get out of the vehicle and the other gun had fallen near Turner.
At least one witnesses said he saw Ordway open Lewis' door and shoot into the vehicle. Other witnesses could not recall how the door was opened.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Lori Boling told the jury that witnesses reported Ordway was standing outside the vehicle after it crashed and reached into the car and shot the two men.
After the shooting, Boling said Ordway attempted to stop two passing vehicles and tried to force the occupants out of their cars.
Susan Jeffries of Lexington testified that she was traveling with her mother-in-law when a man she later identified as Ordway approached the car and pointed a gun at the window. Jeffries said Ordway wanted them to get out of the car.
But defense attorneys said Ordway did not attempt to flee and did not try to steal any vehicles.
Cox said Ordway yelled for the women who were near the intersection to get out of the area because it was dangerous; not to get out of the car.
Defense attorney Dennis Shepherd questioned whether Jeffries misread the situation. He asked her whether she saw a difference in two phrases: "Get out" and "Get out of the car."
Jeffries said she did not see the difference, and said Ordway was pulling on the door handles.
The trial resumes at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
In addition to murder, Ordway is charged with tampering with physical evidence and being a persistent felony offender.