The woman sitting next to Kevin “Gus” Johnson when he was gunned down inside her car on Valentine’s Day 2012 told a jury Wednesday she saw Erick Scott creep up behind her car at Choctaw Drive and North Acadian Thruway West and fire several shots through the front passenger window at a defenseless Johnson.
“I’m 100 percent positive that’s the man who shot Gus,” Elaine Jackson testified on the opening day of Scott’s second-degree murder trial. “I could never forget his face. Never!”
Scott, 23, of Baton Rouge, also is charged with second-degree murder in the Oct. 16, 2011, shooting death of 17-year-old Justice Thompson. He is standing trial only in the slaying of Johnson and faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison if convicted as charged.
Scott also was accused last summer of asking friends to beat, bribe, intimidate or kill the witnesses who planned to testify against him at his murder trials. Those charges — solicitation for first-degree murder, conspiracy to injure or intimidate witnesses, and conspiracy to commit public bribery — came after a probe into his jailhouse phone calls and letters.
Two of his alleged accomplices — Kirrasha R. Nicholas and Ron Neshell Dunn, both of Baton Rouge — face conspiracy charges.
Johnson, 21, a rapper, was shot six times while he and Jackson were stopped at a traffic light on Feb. 14, 2012. Jurors were shown a photograph of Jackson’s white Toyota Avalon with six bullet holes through the front passenger window. One of the bullets exited the rear driver’s side door.
“He (Scott) was creeping like a person at night,” Jackson said. “He (Johnson) didn’t have a chance to do nothing.”
Jackson acknowledged she did not identify Scott in a Feb. 24, 2012, photographic lineup because she feared for her safety and that of her children. She said she finally picked Scott out of an April 2, 2012, photo lineup after a family member urged her to do the right thing.
Scott’s attorney, Benn Hamilton, argued Jackson got only a brief glimpse of the shooter and only fingered Scott after hearing his name on the streets and seeing his picture on social media. Hamilton said Jackson’s identification of Scott was based on rumor.
He also told the jury that Scott was picking up his godchild at a daycare center when the shooting took place.
Testimony on Thursday is expected to focus on Scott’s alleged jailhouse threats.
Prosecutor Dana Cummings reminded the jury that inmates are warned their phone calls can be monitored.
“Thankfully they don’t heed that warning,” she said.
Cummings, who argued Jackson was mentioned specifically in some of the alleged threats, said of Jackson’s trial testimony: “Would anybody go through this if it weren’t the absolute truth?”