Preparing for a scuffle on a dark night in September last year, Jaemari A. Anderson, 19, turned to ask a man to hold his glasses – but was answered by a bullet in his head. head, according to court testimony Thursday.
Nearly 14 months later, Jordan B. Hooks, 29, a resident of Frederick, is on trial after pleading not guilty to 11 counts, including first degree murder. An eyewitness said Thursday that Hooks was not the shooter.
Brian B. Henry, 28, of Clarksburg, in his testimony painted an image Thursday from September 6, 2020, the night Anderson was fatally shot.
Dressed in an orange and white striped detention center uniform, Henry took the witness stand and vowed to tell the truth. Although initially charged with first degree murder in the shooting, along with other charges, Henry, through a plea deal with the Frederick County State Attorney’s Office, pleaded guilty on October 14 for complicity in murder after the fact. As part of the deal, Henry is expected to honestly testify at trial.
Deputy State Attorney Tim Gilbert asked Henry directly: Who shot Jaemari?
“Daniel Flythe,” Henry replied.
Prior to the shooting, Henry said he, Anderson, Hooks, Flythe and others were hanging out in Hooks’ basement bedroom and living room in the 8000 block of Waterview Court. People drank, smoked marijuana, and used a psychoactive drug known as molly, Henry said. Everything seemed normal until Anderson claimed he was “truer” than the others, which meant he was better, according to Henry. The comment sparked an argument that resulted in Hooks and Anderson agreeing to a fight, Henry said. Hooks’ girlfriend Kayla Scott and Henry described Hooks and Anderson as friends.
Although Scott told court on Wednesday that she believed Henry had become “defensive” and “angry” over Anderson’s comment, Henry testified on Thursday that he didn’t really take offense.
Henry told jurors the men went out by the trail for the fight, while Scott and Henry’s girlfriend Tynoura Coleman watched from a short distance. Prior to the shooting, Henry said Flythe made a comment he took to mean Flythe would participate in the fight, but was surprised it ended in gunfire.
Hooks and Anderson “clashed” with raised fists, within a foot of each other, according to Henry, who was standing nearby.
Anderson paused, Henry said, remembering he was wearing glasses. Anderson turned to Flythe, who was standing behind him, and started asking him to hold his glasses when Flythe shot him, Henry said.
After Anderson fell to the ground, Henry said he, Flythe and Coleman went to a friend’s house in the Ballenger Creek area in Frederick where they grabbed a soda and a t-shirt before heading to the residence from Henry to Clarksburg. Along the way, Henry said Flythe gave the pistol in his belt to Coleman in the back seat, who wiped off the pistol before returning it to Flythe, who passed it to Henry in the passenger seat. Henry testified that he threw the gun and shirt out of the car window, suggesting that Flythe implied that was what he wanted.
Police later retrieved the gun from the Interstate 70 East slip road at Md. 180 and 351. Gilbert presented it to the jury on Thursday.
At Henry’s home, he testified that the three took off their clothes and put them in a garbage bag that was to be burnt. Henry didn’t know if the clothes were really burnt.
Defense attorney Kevin Watkins pointedly questioned Henry about the plea deal he made with the state attorney’s office, his previous convictions, and his eight-and-a-half-year sentence in the Montgomery County for breach of probation. As part of the deal, the Frederick County State Attorney’s Office agreed to pass Henry’s level of cooperation to the prosecutor in the Montgomery County case without making any sentencing recommendations. Interviewing the witness, Watkins sought to confirm that Henry would be better off if he followed the terms of the plea agreement. Henry faces up to 10 years in prison on the incidental charge.
Watkins also got responses from Henry about the feelings of anxiety he experienced as Flythe stayed with him for weeks after the shooting. Henry testified that he had heard Flythe kill other people before, although he was not sure if this was true. Henry said his desire to inform police about the shooting was in part motivated by concern for the well-being of his family.
Flythe, 27, is awaiting trial for murder related to the shooting. Hooks’ trial is scheduled to continue on Friday.
Follow Mary Grace Keller on Twitter: @MaryGraceKeller