The robbery game came up snake eyes for Tiekarian "TK" Troutman. Trying to knock over a neighborhood market in Alkali Flat, he wound up shot and killed. Now it's his partner who is facing a hard fall, in a murder trial that went to the jury Tuesday.
Prosecutors say Marquis Deonta "GoGo" Greenwood tried to gun down one of the owners of Deluxe Market at 13th and E streets, just north of downtown, while he and Troutman ran out of the store at 6:15 p.m. two nights after Christmas in 2010. Instead, Troutman got in Greenwood's line of fire, authorities said, and was shot in the neck.
Taking the witness stand Monday, Greenwood testified that Troutman shot himself. Greenwood told the Sacramento Superior Court jury that in the robbers' panicked exit precipitated by the store owner's counterattack with a 2- liter pop bottle he threw at them, Troutman stumbled in the doorway and fatally shot himself. Troutman died three hours later at UC Davis Medical Center.
Deputy District Attorney Sheri Greco and Assistant Public Defender Amy Rogers, in their final arguments, debated the sticking points of witness credibility and the fatal bullet's trajectory.
In the six-day trial in front of Judge Marjorie Koller, Greco put on four witnesses who said Greenwood admitted in their presence he accidentally shot Troutman.
Most critical was Troutman's girlfriend, Shayana Hollis, now 18. She was with the two the night of the robbery and had scoped out the Deluxe Market for them.
Hollis has since pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and faces a 12-year prison term. She testified that when the two returned from the robbery, Troutman told Greenwood, "You shot me, b----."
She said Greenwood had the gun and threw it in her lap when he got in the car. Greenwood said he "was trying to shoot (the store owner) because the guy grabbed TK and was fighting with him," Hollis testified. Greenwood "missed the guy and shot TK," Hollis told the jury. "He said it was an accident" and told Troutman, "I'm sorry, man."
Before he died, Troutman wrote a text message to family saying, "I just got shop bye GoGo. I love you. So I'm sorry. I love akl of you."
Defense attorney Rogers argued that Hollis' credibility is suspect because of her plea deal. Hollis changed key details of her story several times in interviews with police and "is making it up as she goes," Rogers said.
Even the store owner and his wife testified that the robber with the gun matched Troutman's description, and there is no credible evidence that he ever handed it off to Greenwood, Rogers said.
Prosecutor Greco countered that Hollis came up with her final version in her first interview with police, the night of the killing after learning her boyfriend was dead.
"She began disclosing then what happened in front of the market," Greco said. "There were no deals on the table."
Rogers questioned the credibility of witnesses Derek Johnson, Rozendo Davila and Tami King, who told police that Greenwood, while hanging out with them at a house in Oak Park the day after the killing, said he accidentally shot his partner. They were all "characters," with felony records, Rogers said.
Greco argued that their accounts, taken separately, repeated the same story that Greenwood said he and Troutman were running out of the store, that Troutman got in his way and he accidentally killed him.
"How can they all be so consistent with the information they say Greenwood disclosed?" Greco asked the jury.
Greenwood testified he ran out of the store with Troutman on his heels. He said Troutman tripped and accidentally shot himself on the way down.
The autopsy showed the bullet struck Troutman just above his left clavicle, then shot downward where it lodged between a rib and his spinal cord. Greco said the angle is more consistent with Troutman being shot while he was bent forward running out of the store. Rogers argued Troutman could have shot himself at the 20-to-30-degree downward angle.
"This is an absolute tragedy," Rogers said. But it would be "an equal tragedy," she argued, if the jury convicts Greenwood. "He did not cause TK's death," she said. "TK chose to do the robbery. He chose to carry a gun. He chose to run out of the store with a gun in his hand that caused his death. He died because of his own actions, not Marquis' actions."
Greco agreed that Troutman "made a bad decision." She said Troutman apologized for it in his text message to his family. She said he "paid the ultimate price" for it.
"Just because he's a robber doesn't make him any less of a human being," Greco said.
Call The Bee's Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141. Follow him on Twitter @andyfurillo.