LANCASTER – A man ran down the street screaming after being shot with a bow and arrow outside a Lancaster home, and then his assailant went to the house next door and said, “This nig**r went in my house and I shot him,” according to testimony at a court hearing Friday.
The testimony came during a probable cause hearing, after which Garrett Taylor Adams was ordered to trial for murder with an allegation that he used a compound bow in the killing of Charles Briggs.
Sheriff’s detectives said Briggs, 27, was killed around 3:27 a.m. Aug. 23, 2014, after he tried to intervene in a boyfriend-girlfriend argument in the 43000 block of 27th Street West in Lancaster.
During the probable cause hearing for Garrett Adams, which started Thursday and ended Friday, five witnesses testified.
Garrett Adams’ next door neighbor, Margarita Quintero, testified that she woke up around 3:30 a.m. Aug. 23 to someone pounding on her door. She said it was a “really hyper” Garrett Adams, who “begged” her several times to call police and at some point used “the n-word.”
“He said, ‘This nig**r went in my house and I shot him,’” Quintero testified, when pressed to specify exactly what Garrett Adams told her.
Three witnesses testified about seeing Garrett Adams shoot Briggs with a bow and arrow – Garrett Adams’ girlfriend, Bernadette Marquez, his fraternal twin brother, Cameron Adams, and a bystander, Justin Kekauoha. All gave conflicting accounts of the sequence of events.
Bernadette Marquez said she and Garrett Adams had gotten into an argument inside his home in the hours before the incident. When questioned on specific details of that altercation, Marquez repeatedly said she couldn’t recall. When shown a transcript of statements she allegedly made during a prior recorded interview with detectives, Marquez said she didn’t remember telling detectives that Garrett Adams threw a table at her or that he slapped her, leaving her with a bruised lip.
She said Garrett Adams had been drinking that night, and he “didn’t seem like himself.”
During the early morning hours of Aug. 23, Cameron Adams came to the home with Charles Briggs, according to Marquez’s testimony. She said Cameron Adams was able to “diffuse the fight” between her and Garrett Adams, and she wasn’t sure why Briggs was there.
Marquez said she spoke with Briggs outside the home and he asked her if her boyfriend had hurt her. She said she could not recall how it started, but Charles Briggs and Garrett Adams ended up in a fight. Marquez testified that the fight “went on for a while” and moved from inside to outside the home, as Cameron Adams tried to “pull them off each other.”
She said the fight eventually ended with no winner, and Cameron Adams and Briggs were talking in the front yard when Garrett Adams came outside with a hunting bow and arrow. Marquez said Cameron Adams got in between the two men, but Garrett Adams told his twin brother to move out of the way.
Marquez said she saw Garrett Adams point the bow and arrow and shoot Charles Briggs.
Testifying Friday, Cameron Adams gave a different account of the sequence of events.
Cameron Adams said he and his friend, Charles Briggs, left a barbecue together to get some cigarettes from a 7-Eleven during the early morning hours of Aug. 23. After stopping at the store, Cameron Adams said he went to his brother’s house to pick him up, and he told Charles Briggs to wait in the car. Cameron Adams testified that Charles Briggs entered the home uninvited and “came after my brother.”
“He said, ‘Why you beating on your girl?’” Cameron Adams testified.
According to Cameron Adam’s testimony, Charles Briggs began fighting Garrett Adams and he put him on his back and began choking him.
“I thought my brother was about to be killed,” Cameron Adams testified.
Cameron Adams said he was struck in the face as he tried to pull Charles Briggs off his brother, and he, too, got into the fight.
The fight moved from inside to outside, and then Garrett Adams armed himself with a bow and arrow, according to Cameron Adams.
Cameron Adams said he stood between the two men and begged Charles Briggs to leave but “he was coming, like, violently towards Garrett.”
Cameron Adams testified that “the bow just, like, went off.”
“It almost struck me,” he said.
A bystander to the incident testified Friday and gave yet a different account of the sequence of events.
Justin Kekauoha testified that he was attending a party in a nearby backyard when he heard a commotion and went to see what was going on. Kekauoha said he was standing about 40 to 50 feet away, and he saw four individuals, whom he identified as two white guys, a black guy and a white female. The men were “yelling back and forth,” and one of the white males had a weapon while the other white male appeared to be trying to calm both men down, Kekauoha testified.
According to Kekauoha’s testimony, the white male pointed his weapon and the black male said, “Okay, I’m done,” and began walking backward.
The white male with the weapon looked like he was about to walk away, but then he shot the black male with the bow and arrow, according to Kekauoha’s testimony. Immediately after, the man with the bow and arrow said, “That’s what you get, homie,” Kekauoha testified.
Kekauoha said he pulled out his phone and began recording as the black man ran down the street screaming for help.
The cellphone recording was played during the preliminary hearing Thursday, and a man’s voice could be heard screaming.
The black male ran down 27th Street West toward K-8 screaming, “Help! Somebody, help me!’” Kekauoha testified.
Sgt. Kenneth Clark of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Homicide Bureau testified that he attended the autopsy of Charles Briggs and spoke to the county coroner.
Briggs died from “penetrating wounds” and his death was ruled a homicide, Clark testified.
At the conclusion of the two-day court hearing, Garrett Adams was held to answer to one count of murder and multiple domestic violence charges related to his girlfriend, Bernadette Marquez.
He was remanded back to custody on $1 million bail. Garrett Adams is due back in court May 4 for a second arraignment.
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