A Baton Rouge woman who survived being shot 13 times in a 2013 shooting that claimed her husband's life testified Wednesday that Jermaine Ruffen was the only person who fired into their parked car on Evangeline Street that night, though she initially thought there were multiple shooters because of the number of bullets peppering the car.
"All those bullets. Who has a gun with all those bullets?" Sheirica Ellis said while testifying through sobs and tears at Ruffen's trial on second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder charges. "I thought it was two people, but when I looked up I saw him."
East Baton Rouge Parish Assistant District Attorney Morgan Johnson told the jury earlier Wednesday that 16 shell casings from a Glock 22 .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun were found at the murder scene. She alleged that Ruffen "ambushed" his victims.
That gun that Ruffen is accused of using to kill 29-year-old Anthony Jerard Jones and wound the 37-year-old Ellis on June 20, 2013, was reported stolen in 2011 from an off-duty New Orleans police officer's car in Baton Rouge.
Baton Rouge police officer Wallace Britton testified that the gun was found, with the help of a police dog named "Ranger," a short distance from the shooting scene. Britton testified he was chasing Ruffen on foot when Ruffen dropped an object to the ground.
Johnson told the jury that the shell casings matched the gun that was found on the ground. Jurors were shown the gun itself, as well as graphic photographs of Jones' bloodied body inside the bullet-riddled car.
Another man, Andre Scott, 27, of Baton Rouge, pleaded guilty in 2012 to stealing the New Orleans Police Department-issued gun and was sentenced to six years in prison.
Ruffen, 34, of Baton Rouge, faces a mandatory term of life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder in Jones' slaying.
Britton testified Wednesday he was following up on a burglary investigation on Clayton Street when he heard the sound of gunshots not far away. The officer said he encountered Ruffen moments later "hastily walking like he was really trying to get somewhere" near the intersection of McClelland Drive and Byron Street. But Ruffen ran when he tried to question him.
"The look on his face changed. He took off and ran," said Britton, who caught Ruffen following a brief chase.
Ruffen's attorney, Robert Tucker, questioned how the officer could have seen Ruffen's face and observed him drop something when the incident occurred shortly after midnight. Britton said street lights helped illuminate the area.
Ellis testified she has no idea why her husband pulled into the driveway of a home in the 5200 block of Evangeline, which is where she and Jones were shot. She said she had never met Ruffen.
Prosecutor Steve Danielson, while questioning Ellis, noted that cocaine and $15,000 in cash was found in the car. Ellis said the money is what she saved up while working two jobs so she and her husband could start a new life in Texas, where they planned to move.
Ellis said she was shot 13 times, and her husband nine times. She said the shooting paralyzed her left arm. Ellis wore sunglasses on the witness stand because she was shot in the face, causing nerve damage. She also was shot in both legs and suffered a broken thigh bone. She lost several teeth as well during the frenzy of gunfire.
"There wasn't nothin' I could do. I played like I was dead," Ellis said, adding that neither she nor her husband were armed.
Ellis said she was booked on a cocaine possession charge following the shooting after her release from the hospital, but the charge was dismissed last year.
Ruffen's trial will resume Thursday in state District Judge Richard Anderson's courtroom.