Man lost his life in video game argument
Two men appeared on the witness stand in Cleveland County Tuesday morning and described the day their neighborhood became a crime scene.
One of them said he had just finished mowing a neighbor’s lawn when he heard a series of gunshots. Another described the same incident from a different point of view.
Neither had a clear enough vision to point the finger at Jalen Aric Lipscomb, according to his attorney’s questioning in court.
Lipscomb, 24, is charged with first degree murder in the shooting death of Christopher “Chris” Bernard Carson.
Investigators say an argument led Lipscomb to shoot Carson, 32, four times and then flee the scene.
A little over a year has passed since the change of life, the day of the end of life.
A jury of seven women, five men and two male deputies was selected by lawyers on Monday, and the trial began on Tuesday.
The sunny and devastating day
Keith Rankin lived in the same neighborhood as Carson, although the two didn’t really know each other, he said from the witness stand.
It was a hot, sunny day on June 12, 2020 when Rankin said he had finished mowing a neighbor’s yard and then heard a commotion. The brawl looked like a brawl, and then Rankin testified that he heard a series of four shots at Carson’s property.
Minutes later, police descended on the area, but not before Rankin said he saw Lipscomb flee the scene as he tried to cover up a gun.
During cross-examination, defense attorney John Bridges asked Rankin how he could be so sure Lipscomb was the man he saw flee from the Rocky Brook Drive house in Shelby that day – pointing out that a year had passed and that her client was wearing a find mask.
Rankin said he had good eyesight and never forgot a face.
Cleveland County Assistant District Attorney Rick Shaffer then asked if Lipscomb would remove his mask, and Rankin again said it was he he saw flee Carson’s home on the morning of the shooting.
A second account
Shawn Mullins testified that he was in his nearby driveway around 11:00 a.m. when he thought he heard a lawnmower flashback. He finally noticed a struggle at Carson’s front door.
He said Lipscomb was on the porch and a pair of hands struggled to keep him at bay.
While Mullins initially said the set of hands he saw belonged to Carson, Bridges pointed out that there were other people in the house.
Mullins said he knew Carson was a fair-skinned black man and thought it was him, but conceded it was a game of hands.
In his opening statement, Bridges encouraged jurors to listen to every detail and discern the differences between the accounts.
“Just being at the scene of a crime is not a crime in itself, and it is not murder,” he said.
In his opening remarks, Shaffer said the evidence will show that this tragedy arose out of an argument over a video game.
“This is an absolutely insane and tragic case,” he said.
Days to come
The trial began Monday with jury selection followed by a defense motion to dismiss the case. The argument centered on deleted Facebook posts that were no longer available for use as evidence.
Superior Court Judge Todd Pomeroy listened to the arguments, then dismissed the motion and the prosecution began calling witnesses.
In addition to first responders and investigators, jurors should expect to hear from someone who was inside the house at the time of the shooting.
The defense, which in turn to present evidence after the prosecution, has so far not announced its intention to call witnesses.
The trial is expected to last about a week.
Diane Turbyfill can be reached at 704-669-3334 and at [email protected]