Crime

38 shell casings found in Divas parking lot after fatal shooting, expert testifies in trial

Joshua Lee Tevis
will face formal sentencing on Jan. 23
Joshua Lee Tevis will face formal sentencing on Jan. 23

Joshua Lee Tevis was highly emotional and showed signs of having been struck in the face when he turned himself in to police last year in connection with a fatal shooting, a Lexington police detective testified Wednesday.

Detective Steve McCown told jurors that Tevis was crying and had a very swollen lower lip and a deep, infected cut under his lip when he surrendered Sept. 25, 2013. That was three days after Johntel Crocker, 22, was fatally shot outside Divas Gentleman's Club in Lexington.

Tevis, 28, is on trial for murder in Fayette Circuit Court for allegedly shooting Crocker during a flurry of gunfire that followed a fight in the club's parking lot about 2:40 a.m. Sept. 22, 2013.

Britney McGee, who said she was there, testified Wednesday morning that the shooting started just after she heard someone say, "Get the s--- off my car" in a "furious voice."

Prosecutors contend that Tevis, Karlten Stigall and Davion Bledsoe all fired guns. Police later collected 38 shell casings, plus some spent slugs, in the parking lot.

The trial began Tuesday before Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine.

Wednesday morning, Lexington police detective Franz Wolff testified that officers started looking for Tevis the day after the shooting.

The investigators traced a black Nissan Maxima that was parked in the Divas lot when the confrontation occurred. According to Wolff, shots were fired between the Nissan and a Chevy Malibu parked next to it.

According to McCown, the Malibu was registered to a woman who was not involved in the shooting.

Police determined that the Maxima was owned by Robin Tevis, Joshua Tevis' mother, Wolff said. Robin Tevis and her husband, Keith, cooperated with police.

Officers determined that the car had been in Joshua Tevis' possession, McCown said. Police eventually were able to phone Tevis, who stated that he wanted to turn himself in. He did so a day later.

Russ Baldani, Tevis' lead defense attorney, insisted last year that his client was under attack and was defending himself when the shooting occurred.

Lawrence Pilcher, a forensic firearms expert with the Kentucky State Police Central Lab in Frankfort, testified Wednesday afternoon that he analyzed shell casings, a bullet and a bullet fragment collected from the Divas lot after the shooting.

Pilcher said he determined that 18 9mm casings were fired from one "unknown" gun. Four other 9 mm casings were fired from a second unidentified weapon, he said.

Pilcher said he also identified 14 40-caliber casings that were fired from an unknown 40-caliber pistol. On cross-examination, Pilcher said the casings bore markings "consistent" with having been fired from a Glock pistol or a Smith & Wesson Sigma pistol. Two casings could not be specified.

The trial resumes Thursday.

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