Shooting suspect takes the stand

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Rogers testifies in his own defense

By Bob White




ELIZABETHTOWN — Ray''Mon "Kee" Rogers described  teen shooting victim Marcus “Markie” Pratt as his good friend, even though Rogers is on trial for robbing and killing that friend.

Pratt was shot to death in after Rogers, Pratt, another teen named James Hollister and co-defendant James Benjamin Bryant traveled to Elizabethtown's Southend Commerce Park before dawn the Saturday of Thunder Over Louisville in April 2007.

Pratt and Hollister were robbed of about $800. Pratt was fatally shot with a .45 caliber automatic handgun and Hollister was beaten nearly to death.

“I was awakened by shots,” Rogers testified.

Rogers said after hearing the shots and watching Pratt “go down” he witnessed a gun-toting Bryant reach into the car and grab Hollister.

“I was scared for my life,” Rogers said. “I heard Hollister yellin,' he was calling my name.”

Rogers said he “played opossum” as Bryant drove away from the scene and back to Louisville.

“I'd just seen my friend get killed and another almost get killed,” Rogers said. “I was in shock.”

Rogers said he called Bryant a day later and asked him to “man up and turn his self in” because Rogers was being falsely accused.

That was the last contact he had with Bryant, Rogers said.

After Rogers was arrested on Monday, Aug. 23, 2007,  followed by Bryant a couple days later, both were charged with complicity to murder, robbery and attempted murder for the beating of Hollister.

All but Bryant, 27, were teens at the time of the killing.

Hollister's story in court Wednesday conflicted with Rogers'.

Hollister, who is now charged in connection to the February 2008 gang rape of a female child in Clark County, Ind., testified he witnessed Rogers “shoot towards Markie.”

But another witness, Bryant's attorney Steve Mirkin, testified Thursday that Hollister's statements have changed.

Mirkin interviewed Hollister as part of his investigation into Pratt's death.

“What he told us was totally inconsistent with what he said originally,” Mirkin said.

Closing statements in Rogers' trial are expected to take place Monday morning.

While 11 people were charged with murder in Hardin County during 2007, none of the nine defendants whose cases have been disposed of have been convicted of murder.

Bob White can be reached at (270) 505-1750.