Jury deliberates in shooting that killed Birmingham mother - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Jury deliberates in shooting that killed Birmingham mother

Corderious McLellan, left, takes the stand in his own defense. Source: WBRC video Corderious McLellan, left, takes the stand in his own defense. Source: WBRC video
Corderious McLellan's booking photo from 2012. Source: Birmingham PD Corderious McLellan's booking photo from 2012. Source: Birmingham PD

A jury is deliberating after hearing two days of testimony in the trial of a man accused of shooting and killing a Birmingham mother last year.

Shortly before 5 p.m. on Wednesday, the jury asked the judge if they could take the night to think over their deliberations before voting again on Thursday. Judge Stephen Wallace has released them for the day and they will reconvene at 9 a.m. on Thursday.

Sherri Williams, a 28-year-old mother of three, was standing in the doorway of her Gate City apartment, holding her 10-day-old son when a bullet pierced her chest, striking her heart and lungs.

McClellan took the stand on Wednesday in his own defense. He says the day of the shooting began with a trip to the barber shop with a friend and his girlfriend.

He says the three of them went by Gate City to drop off some clothes to his friend's mother's home. After dropping off the clothes, McClellan said they were then going to buy clothes for a trip to Atlanta.

But as they were leaving the neighborhood, McClellan's girlfriend, who was driving, decided to stop at a neighborhood grocery store just across from the Gate City Housing Projects.

McClellan says his girlfriend got out of the car, saw a girl she knew and the two began fighting. McClellan says he thinks the fight was over something posted on the Internet.

McClellan says at one point, his girlfriend tried to pull out a pistol out of his pocket, but he stopped her from doing so.

After the fight ended, the friend McClellan was with spotted Sherri Williams' brother, Torey. Torey Williams testified on Tuesday that he had been at the store watching the fight.

Torey Williams also testified that his girlfriend had had a disagreement with the mother of McClellan's friend although he was not involved with that.

McClellan says he saw his friend run towards Torey Williams but Williams ran off. McClellan says he saw Williams reaching in his pocket as he ran and he thought Williams was grabbing for a weapon. That's when McClellan pulled out his own gun.

"What were you trying to do?" asked McClellan's attorney Erskine Mathis.

"I was trying to scare him to be honest," McClellan responded. "I shot by him or over him. I wasn't shooting at him. I was trying to scare him, make him run, exactly what he ended up doing."

McClellan says he didn't remember how many shots he fired but agreed with prosecutor's evidence that it was six times.

He says he didn't know Sherri Williams was standing on her door, just 326 feet away when he fired.

"I didn't intend for nobody to be hurt that day, sir. I regret this every day. I didn't know it was going to happen like this," McLellan said.

McClellan says after the shooting, he left the scene not realizing Williams had been hit. He found out 30 minutes later, he said. Still, he went to the basketball game in Atlanta that night and threw the gun out on the way.

The next day, McClellan turned himself in to Birmingham Police. He says he was scared but "didn't want to put his family through that."

During cross examination, prosecutor Mara Russell asked McClellan about going to Gate City with a loaded gun. McClellan says that was the first time he had ever walked around with a gun.

She also referred back to still photographs pulled for the videos shown the previous day, pointing out that Torey Williams was across the street with his back to McClellan when he started shooting.

In closing arguments, Russell told jurors that when McClellan fired goes to his intent in this case. That is will be the issue jurors' verdict will hinge on.

Judge Wallace told jurors they could consider finding McClellan guilty of capital murder or reckless manslaughter.

In his closing argument, defense attorney Mathis told jurors they should convict on the lesser charge of reckless manslaughter. He pointed to how the bullet entered Sherri William's chest, saying the trajectory of the bullet indicated McClellan fired wide and high, instead of directly at Torey Williams.

Mathis also told jurors that if he cared about killing someone he would not have kept his gun away from his girlfriend.

"It's just an accident, a pure accident, a tragic accident," Mathis said. "But we need to make a decision not based on passion, compassion or anger but based on what we see."

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