The woman who allegedly started a rumor that may have led to the shooting death of Naressa Turner last October testified Monday that her own life was at risk.
"Have you ever been scared of anybody related to this case?" asked defense attorney Murad Mohammad, who is representing murder suspect Joseph H. Campbell, whose trial is in its second week.
"In the beginning I was," said LeShae Jones, Turner's former friend and roommate.
Turner's sister has testified that last summer Jones said on Facebook that Turner set up the February 2012 murder of Dominic Neeley, whom police identified as a member of the East Side Boyz gang. Turner, 20, fled to Georgia when threats against her escalated. When she returned to St. Paul, she was fatally shot in an alley in the 900 block of Reaney Avenue.
Police believe that her slaying was motivated by retaliation and that it was connected to a long-running feud between the East Side Boyz and the Selby Siders gangs. Police identify Campbell, 20, as a member of the East Side Boyz, while Jones testified that Turner had been affiliated with both gangs.
Mohammad, who has tried to raise skepticism about the credibility of prosecutors' witnesses, asked Jones if she was currently receiving threats.
"Yeah, I'm getting threats," said Jones. She added that they were "all different types of threats" coming from Selby Siders and "numerous people."
The violence surrounding the case has had a far reach. A juror was dismissed last week after she received a phone call at home from a known gang member, although it's unclear if it was connected to the trial. In a video of his police interview played in court Monday, Campbell said his friend's house was set ablaze after Turner's killing. The friend, Antonio Freeman, was with Campbell the day of Turner's death, Jones testified.
"I don't go to my momma house," Campbell said in the video. "They just burnt Antonio house down."
Authorities believe Campbell is the masked gunman who opened the back passenger door of a parked SUV and fired several shots into Turner as she sat in the front passenger seat.
Kelly Mills, a forensic pathologist with the Ramsey County medical examiner's office, testified that Turner was struck by at least nine and possibly 12 gunshots. Two bullets ripped through Turner's heart.
Still photos taken from video surveillance at a nearby convenience store showed Campbell wearing a mask, a grotesque white face striated with jagged stripes, on top of his head. Multiple photos showed that Campbell was with three other men just before Turner was killed.
The only other person charged in Turner's death, Cornelius Bell, is also in the photos. Bell is charged with crime committed for the benefit of a gang and three counts of aiding an offender. His trial is in July.
Jones testified that Campbell and Freeman were at her house earlier in the day and that Campbell had a handgun. She said that she saw them later at the convenience store and that Freeman also wore the mask.
Sgt. Paul Dunnom testified that video surveillance did not show anyone else wearing it.
Testimony continues Tuesday.