A woman who said she was with William Bottoms Jr. when he fatally shot two Baker men in 2017 told investigators a gun he later asked her to hide was the murder weapon, detectives testified Tuesday.

Bottoms, 29, of Greenwell Springs, disputed that testimony, yelling out during a hearing, "That ain't the murder weapon!" His attorney quickly hushed him.

Bottoms is scheduled to stand trial Aug. 5 on two counts of second-degree murder in the killing of Dedrick D. Williams, 23, and Mohamed S. Hussain, 29. Those counts carry mandatory life prison terms.

Bottoms' girlfriend, Megan Gaylord, 29, also of Greenwell Springs, had told authorities she was driving a car in which Bottoms and the victims were riding when he shot the two men on Plank Road between Baker and Zachary on June 2, 2017. The victims' bodies were found in St. Helena Parish.

Less than three weeks later, on June 21, 2017, Bottoms was injured in a shooting. Gaylord told investigating officers he had asked her to hide a Charter Arms .38-caliber revolver in the backyard of a residence, Zac Woodring, a Baton Rouge Police detective, testified Tuesday.

Woodring said Gaylord led him to the gun hidden under a tarp.

"She said she got it from William Bottoms," he said.

Bottoms was arrested in the slayings on June 23, 2017.

East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's Lt. Scott Henning testified that a mixture of Bottoms' and Gaylord's DNA was found on the gun. Henning said Williams and Hussain each were shot twice in the head.

Prosecutor Dana Cummings said in a recently filed motion that a firearms examiner confirmed the class characteristics of bullets fired from the gun matched with the bullets taken from the bodies of Williams and Hussain, but the bullets "lacked sufficient detail for a definitive match to the weapon recovered."

Cummings asked that the gun be deemed admissible evidence at Bottoms' trial.

"There's nothing definitive here," Bottoms' attorney, Jarvis Antwine, argued Tuesday.

Retired state District Judge Bruce Bennett, who is currently presiding over the case, ruled that the prosecutor can introduce the gun into evidence at the trial if ballistics tests don't exclude it as the possible murder weapon and if Gaylord's trial testimony matches what she has told investigators.

The arrest report notes that Gaylord told investigators she and Bottoms and the two men had used drugs and that Bottoms, her front seat passenger, became paranoid and shot the men, who were sitting in the back seat.

Gaylord then drove to Bottoms’ residence, where he retrieved bleach to destroy fingerprints and evidence. Bottoms also got a bed sheet that was later used to cover the bodies, the report says.

The car, with the bodies inside, was then driven to a location in St. Helena Parish and left there.

Gaylord was charged as an accessory in the case, but prosecutors dismissed the charge last year.

Gaylord is still charged with second-degree cruelty to a juvenile, a charge that dates to 2015 and involves her then-3-year-old child, who had tested positive for high levels of cocaine.

Police went to Gaylord's residence in Baton Rouge in mid-2015 to probe a disturbance and found the pair in an apartment littered with dog feces, spoiled food, trash and dirty diapers. Police smelled a strong odor of burned marijuana while speaking with Gaylord and her child, a police report states.

Gaylord tested positive for cocaine, marijuana and other controlled substances at a hospital, and the child tested positive for cocaine.

In an unrelated matter this year, Bottoms' twin brother, Lawrence Bottoms, was fatally shot April 29 in Mississippi after he pulled a gun on Hancock County sheriff's deputies trying to serve a warrant on him out of East Baton Rouge Parish for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, the Biloxi Sun Herald reported.

Lawrence Bottoms was convicted in 2017 of the 2015 stabbing of a teenager with a screwdriver, according to Livingston Parish court records. The charge he pleaded guilty to in the case was aggravated battery. The teenager died months after the stabbing.


Email Joe Gyan Jr. at jgyan@theadvocate.com.