SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Opening volleys were exchanged by prosecutors and defense attorneys Thursday morning in the trial of the two men accused in the January 2019 death of Shreveport police officer Chatéri Payne.
Tre’vion Anderson, 29, and 41-year-old Glenn Frierson are charged with second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit second-degree murder in the Jan. 9, 2019, shooting death of the young police officer.
A third defendant, 24-year-old Lawrence Pierre, pleaded guilty on Monday to second-degree murder in the case and was immediately sentenced to mandatory life in prison without possibility of parole, probation or suspension of sentence.
Although Pierre’s case is closed, and his attorney claims he will not testify against his former co-defendants, his presence loomed large as Caddo Parish Assistant District Attorney Brittany Green outlined the prosecution’s case in her opening argument.
Green told the six-man, six-woman jury, that the state will prove that Anderson, Frierson, and Pierre conspired to commit murder – “they had a plot, a plan, a conspiracy,” which Green added, “was conceived by Anderson.”
Anderson was Payne’s live-in boyfriend and father of her 2-year-old child, Green said, and Payne was “a 22-year-old young mother with a 2-year-old, a new rookie with the Shreveport Police Department, a rising star on her way to big things.”
“She was everything Tre’vion Anderson wasn’t.”
Payne took “great steps” to get away from Anderson, Green said, and had put down a deposit on an apartment where she planned to move with her little girl.
But Anderson was not happy, Green continued, and, motivated by jealousy, power and control, he began his recruiting effort, bringing in Frierson and Pierre.
Though she stopped short of saying Pierre would testify against his former co-defendants, she alluded to him dropping the dime on them. “The thing about a conspiracy,” Green said, “is that someone always tells.
“Without the information from one, none of us would be here.”
Representing Anderson, attorney John Bokenfohr told the jury, which is made up of 11 white people and one African American man, with one African American alternate juror, that his client is innocent.
He said Anderson was inside the house he and Payne shared in the 1600 block of Midway when he heard shots ring out, he went and got his gun and discharged a couple of shots in the back of the house.
Bokenfohr added that Anderson immediately called 911 to get an ambulance to the scene, and the defense will prove Anderson’s innocence.
Mary Harried, who represents Frierson, described her client to the jury as a man who lived in the community, cut hair for a living and was accused of something he did not do.
She added that once the prosecution put on their evidence, “they will not be able to meet the burden of proof.
The prosecution’s first witness out of the gate was Payne’s grandmother who was on the phone with the victim when she was shot. She testified that Anderson took Payne’s phone and said Payne had been shot. She said she told him to call an ambulance, but then she hung up and made a 911 call.
Her testimony was followed by that of the 911 operator who took the frantic call from Payne’s grandmother on the night Payne was slain. An audio of the recorded call was played in the courtroom, and though it was difficult to discern amid the grandmother’s cries and screams, she clearly told the operator, “I think her boyfriend did it,” and when the operator asked her for his name, she said, “Tre’vion Anderson.”
The prosecution then called the Shreveport Police lieutenant who was area supervisor on the night of Payne’s death and immediately responded when he heard the call on his radio. He said when he arrived at the scene, a man flagged him down and was in “panic-type mode.” He said when he flashed his light, he saw Payne in the driveway with her badge by her side. He told the jury there was no blood, just brains on the sidewalk where Payne’s head laid.
The last witness of the day was SPD Crime Scene Investigator Cpl. Amber Futch, who went to the scene, gathered and secured evidence and photographed the scene, before going to Ochner’s LSU Heath Hospital where doctors and medical personnel were trying to save Payne’s life.
Futch took the red bag where Payne’s belongings had been secured and went into a treatment room where she photographed the things in the bag. Some of the photographs of those articles were flashed on a screen in front of the jury. Photographs of Payne’s shirt, her vest with a bullet hole, and her boots, one of which had blood on it from another injury she suffered during the shooting.
The final photos were of Payne in the trauma room as Ochsner’s. As the hushed courtroom looked on, Futch described the gunshot wound on Payne’s left side, the one that had penetrated her vest. And then, a photograph of the left side of Payne’s head where she was mortally wounded. Though her head was wrapped in gauze, it was easy to discern where the shot had gone in, due to the stark red blood against the white gauze, and the blood that had coagulated in her ear and the surrounding area.
The disturbing photos were enough for one day, and after the jury was ushered out, court was recessed for the day. Testimony will resume at 10:30 Friday morning.