Death threats rolled in the day after the killing, when a reception committee came to Danisha Holton's door and warned that if she told what she knew about the shooting death of Steven Carmassi, "I was going to end up six feet under just like him."
Portents of bodily harm resumed as recently as this past week, on Facebook, when "friends" of Nathaniel James Carter's sister-in-law registered comments on the social network that Holton was in for physical trouble if she took the stand in the defendant's murder trial.
Testifying in exchange for dismissal of murder charges that had been filed against her, Holton followed through on her end of the deal Tuesday and identified Carter, 24, as the gunman in the Oct. 29, 2010, Foothill Farms pot-robbery killing of Carmassi, 35.
Holton sat in the witness chair and told a Sacramento Superior Court jury she stood 30 feet away when she saw Carter make a motion like he was pulling a gun out of his pocket as he approached within 5 feet of Carmassi, who was sitting in his truck in a supermarket parking lot waiting to give her some marijuana.
She said she heard a shot, maybe two, and "I looked up and saw a puff of smoke."
Holton, who admitted to setting up the robbery, didn't know until the next day that Carmassi had been killed. She said the news gave her a "panic attack," and that she "freaked out" further when two other initial defendants in the case and additional neighborhood associates dropped by her Keoncrest Circle residence to tell her she would wind up like Carmassi if she said anything.
The Facebook postings have appeared in testimony in Carter's trial, which began Dec. 12.
One author said "they needa get beat" while another commentator with a female name said "am about a rock up, ANYBODY CAN GET IT."
Asked by Deputy District Attorney Charles Gonzalez to interpret the meaning of the messages, Holton told the jury, "I took it, obviously, that I'm being threatened," Holton said.
Gonzalez displayed the postings on the courtroom movie screen. They came in response to a posting by a woman identified as Erica Sade Logan that said, in reference to Holton and another witness, "I hope you enjoy living the rest of your lives as a RAT because you'll be nothing more." Logan posted another comment that accused the two of "SNITCHEN."
Logan attended the trial Tuesday and was called up to the rail at a break in testimony for an admonishment by Judge Greta Curtis Fall.
"You need to be very clear and understand it is a felony to threaten a witness and that you could go to prison," Fall told Logan.
The judge warned Logan she would likely face charges as an aider and abetter if anything happens to the witnesses.
"Are you and I perfectly clear?" Fall asked.
Outside court, Logan denied she meant to threaten anyone in her original post.
"It was not a threat at all," she said.
Logan identified herself as Nathaniel Carter's sister-in-law. The defendant's brother, who is the father of Logan's child, is currently in jail on suspicion of murder in another fatal pot robbery.
Marcus Logan, 21, and two other defendants are charged in the Aug. 21 killing of Timothy Schweiss, 25, in an apartment complex on Edison Avenue in Arden Arcade.
In her testimony Tuesday, Holton, who was 16 years old at the time of the Carmassi killing, said she had known Carmassi for three months at the time of his death. She said "he was the weed dealer to the weed dealers" in her neighborhood and that "everybody knew it because he flashed it a lot."
Holton testified Carmassi once gave her $500 and "thousands" in cash in their short friendship. She said Carmassi also took her to buy clothes and that he treated her to fast-food meals, as well as to regular supplies of marijuana.
She said Carter and the two co-defendants who have since pleaded out Latice Collins, 25, to first-degree murder, and DeJohng Mariedenie Taylor, 23, to voluntary manslaughter teased her that Carmassi was her "trick." She denied having a sexual relationship with Carmassi.
The day of the fatal shooting, Holton said she was smoking marijuana, drinking malt liquor and playing Monopoly with friends when Carter, Collins and Taylor asked her to help them set up Carmassi for the robbery.
She said she resisted the idea at first, but agreed to meet up with Carmassi wearing a white sweater to distract him while they pulled off the robbery because "they were going to do it anyway."
Holton told a friend she was going to warn Carmassi at the last second about the robbery. And she testified she did yell out to him by his nickname, Matty, when the robbers ran up on him as she crossed Garfield Avenue near Auburn Boulevard, where he was parked in his truck near the SaveMart supermarket.
Refusing at first to cooperate with investigators, Holton was charged as an adult with murder in the case.
She spent 15 months in juvenile hall until she agreed to testify in exchange for her no-contest plea to being an accessory to murder. She is scheduled to be sentenced to the 15 months she has already served.