One man had gone to the Boynton Beach Mall to get his 9-year-old son a new pair of shoes.
A woman was in the middle of an otherwise uneventful Christmas Eve shift at the mall’s jewelry store.
And another woman was with her daughter, shopping and getting her nails done in time for the holiday.
On Wednesday, all three took the stand as state witnesses in Wilson Pierre’s retrial on murder charges connected to the 2006 gang-related killing and described for jurors a fight, shooting and ensuing chaos that surrounded the death of 24-year-old Berno Charlemond.
Two of the three witnesses, Latisha Jones and Daryl Demarsico, said they actually saw the shooting. Ashley Lockett, the jewelry store worker, said she saw the fight between Charlemond, Jesse Cesar, Fergens Daniel, Pierre and others, but only heard the gunshots.
“He was on the ground, his arms stretched out, and his eyes were wide open,” Jones said of Charlemond after the shooting. “They had the church people around him and everything praying for him, but he wasn’t making any noise..”
Demarsico said he shielded his son from Charlemond’s body, but saw a man he later identified as Pierre shoot him, and then walk to the other side of the mall. Demarsico said he followed Pierre and later pointed him out to police as the shooter.
Boynton Beach Police initially arrested Cesar and Daniel in connection with the shooting. Demarsico said he later told police he saw Cesar’s photo in the paper and let them know they had the wrong person.
Pierre’s previous attorney, Peter Grable, told a first jury in 2009 that Cesar was the shooter. Cesar moved to Orlando after the shooting and was killed up there in 2007.
Salerno didn’t make those claims Wednesday. In stead, he criticized the two eyewitness identifications and pointed to a photo lineup where Pierre’s picture appeared to be lighter than the other five photos, each of which contained men who were also darker skinned than Pierre.
A jury in Pierre’s first trial in 2009 convicted him of second-degree murder, and he was sentenced to 40 years in prison, but that sentence was overturned on appeal after Florida’s 4th District Court of Appeal determined jurors in that case received erroneous jury instructions on a lesser possible manslaughter charge.
Pierre in October 2010 was also convicted of aggravated assault with a firearm for a 2006 drive-by shooting in residential Boynton Beach that targeted Berson Dieudonne. He is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence in that case.
Assistant State Attorneys Crag Williams and Danielle Sherriff were expected Wednesday to call several witnesses before resting their case. Salerno told Circuit Judge Dina Keever that Wilson was considering possibly testifying in his own defense.