Mar. 7, 2012
BOSTON — Strapped to his reclining wheelchair, a dark scar running a trail down the left side of his head, Marcus Hurd, the sole survivor of a brutal mass shooting in Mattapan, testified in Suffolk Superior Court on Wednesday against the men accused of paralyzing him and killing four people, including a 2-year-old boy.
A casual meeting for drugs
Hurd recounted the harrowing events of Sept. 28, 2010, in the early morning hours when he went to buy a “bag of weed” from Mattapan drug dealer Simba Martin. Hurd said he parked his rental SUV near Martin’s Sutton Street apartment.
“Simba came out the house. He jumped into the passenger side of the SUV,” said Hurd, testifying Wednesday at the Suffolk Superior Courthouse. “We had a small conversation. Nothing big, just sitting there.”
Hurd, now 33, said he and Martin had been talking for about a minute when he looked in his rearview mirror and noticed a man walking down the right-hand side of the street. As the man got closer to the SUV, Hurd said he went into the middle of street, passed them and then turned around.
“As he walked by the passenger door, he pulled out a firearm,” said Hurd.
The robbery begins
Hurd described the man as heavyset and bald — a description matching the prosecution’s star witness Kimani Washington.
Washington said he was part of the robbery but not the killings and has cut a deal with the prosecution to testify against defendants Dwayne Moore and Edward Washington. Moore and Washington have been charged in the attempted murder of Hurd and the murders of Eyanna Flonory, 21, her 2-year-old son Amanihoteph Smith, Martin, 21, and LeVaughn Washum-Garrison, 22.
According to Hurd's account after the heavyset man pulled out the gun, he put it to Martin’s head and ordered both of them out of the car. Just as Hurd was exiting the SUV, he said two more gunmen appeared, both wearing hoodies and possibly ski masks.
“They demanded that we take off our clothes. I was kind of hesitant, but you know, I went along with the procedure. I already knew what time it was — it was a robbery,” said Hurd.
After both men were naked, Hurd said the gunmen walked them up to Martin’s apartment. Inside, Martin’s friend Washum-Garrison was asleep on the couch. The gunman demanded that he strip as well.
They told Hurd to face a corner near the top of the stairs. He couldn’t see too much of what was going on but he heard Martin and two of the gunmen go upstairs. A short while later, a safe came tumbling down the stairs.
The situation gets worse
Soon after, Martin’s girlfriend Flonory and her 2-year-old son came down the stairs too.
“The gunman told the girl she was going to be OK. She was really scared,” said Hurd.
Hurd said the gunman continued to ransack the house, taking the safe outside along with something he described as either a flat-screen TV or a big picture.
“One gunman reappeared. When the gunman reappears, obviously, like, I don’t know, 20–30 seconds after the gunman reappeared, the gunman demanded that we walk down the stairs and go outside," Hurd said.
One shot to the back of the head
Once outside, everyone was marched up the street. He was leading the pack and the man he describes as the “tall gunman” was holding a machine gun to his back. Hurd took a right onto Woolson Street and walked about 25 yards before the gunman ordered him into the bushes.
“The gunman ordered me in the bushes, to lay in the bushes. I did as he requested. He shot me in the back of the head — the taller gunman, the one with the machine gun,” said Hurd.
Hurd played dead, afraid the gunman would shoot again if he knew he was still alive. Within seconds, Hurd heard multiple gunshots, a car engine start, doors slam and a car peel away.
A few minutes later, he heard police coming. Once they arrived on the scene, Hurd called out to them. They came over and asked him questions before Hurd was taken away in an ambulance.
The defense challenges Hurd
Most of Hurd’s testimony lined up with Washington’s. But defense attorney John Amabile tried to puncture holes in Hurd’s story, saying it had changed over time. Amabile pointed to an interview Hurd had with police early in November 2010. In the interview, Hurd told police that the heavyset gunman took him and Martin into the house and that the other two gunmen showed up after — a statement that contradicts what Hurd said in court.
“If I said that I was delusional. It’s crazy. You can ask my doctors, like, if I said that I was definitely out of my mind,” said Hurd.
Hurd said his memory was affected in the short-term after the shootings and that he suffered from delusions because of the medications. He did admit that he’s still on some pain medications.
During his testimony, Hurd never identified the men by name and only offered vague descriptions. While cross-examining Hurd, Amabile pressed him on the gunmen’s identification.
“You weren’t able to get any kind of a description of what the men looked like?” Amabile asked.
“I wasn’t really trying to get a description of what the men looked like,” responded Hurd. “I was more worried about getting to the hospital. I was shot in the head.”