Several Baton Rouge residents testified Tuesday about the frightening and, in some cases, life-changing encounters they had with Andre Young on a Sunday morning in July 2014, when he is alleged to have robbed or attempted to rob at least 16 people in just over three hours.
Willie Harris Jr., a Marine Corps veteran, said he planned on going to his hunting camp that day. He never made it. Ellis Hughes was trying to get to a morning church service. He never got there. Jerry Thompson was preparing to go to work. He was shot and injured instead.
Young, 23, of Baton Rouge, is standing trial on 10 counts of armed robbery, six counts of attempted armed robbery, and two counts each of aggravated rape, second-degree kidnapping, attempted second-degree murder and simple burglary.
Harris and Hughes are two of Young's alleged armed robbery victims. Young is charged with the attempted murder of Thompson.
Harris testified Young robbed him of his hunting pistol and cash during a chilling encounter outside Harris' Huron Street home the morning of July 27, 2014. Harris said Young, then 19, even called him by name, addressing him as "Mr. Willie," before demanding that he "give it up."
Harris said he turned over his loaded hunting pistol and about $35 in cash to Young.
"He said, 'That's all you got? I ought to shoot you,'" Harris recalled in front of an East Baton Rouge Parish jury. "I said, 'Maybe so, that's all I got.'"
Harris said he identified Young as the person who robbed him at gunpoint after Young was arrested later that day.
"He had a gun pointed at my stomach," Harris noted.
Prosecutors say Young used the gun he stole from Harris to shoot Thompson man later that morning.
Thompson and Hughes live across the street from each other on Ontario Street.
Hughes told the jury he walked next door to Walter Polk's house to borrow his cellphone to call his sister for a ride to church when an armed Young approached, demanding the phone and threatening to kill him. After Young knocked Hughes to the ground, Hughes said, he crawled under a nearby trailer in an attempt to get away but Young started to drag him back.
"I thought, 'My God, I'm gonna die,'" Hughes said.
Having just been robbed at gunpoint along with three others and told he was now free to leav…
Hughes credits Thompson with saving his life by distracting Young. Hughes said Thompson called out to Hughes and Polk, who were yelling for help.
"He hollered, 'What's going on over there'?" Hughes said of Thompson. "The guy (Young) just left and ran toward him." Hughes said he ran and jumped over a fence, then heard a gunshot.
Thompson showed the jury where he was shot in the lower hip. After he was shot, he hid under a pickup truck.
"I thought he was going to shoot me again," Thompson said. But instead, he said, Young took some electronics from the truck and walked away to his car.
"All he took was half of my life," Thompson said, noting that he spent two weeks in the hospital after the shooting and then another week after infection set in.
Thompson said he said absolutely nothing to the shooter.
"He didn't give me a chance," Thompson said. "When I ran, I felt the bullet."
Polk said Young threatened to kill him. Young is charged with attempted armed robbery of Polk.
Young also is accused of abducting and raping two of his alleged armed robbery victims. The two women are sisters.
An aggravated rape conviction would put Young behind bars for the rest of his life.
The trial will resume Wednesday in state District Judge Richard Anderson's 19th Judicial District courtroom.
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