On cross-exam, McGill focuses on Alverest’s deal. He grills him on the legal technicalities. Alverest says he doesn’t remember the details, just that he has to tell the truth or the deal’s off.
“I’m not a lawyer,” he says. “Once you hear life, your mind goes blank.”
Next on the stand is a man named Hynieth Jacobs, a neighborhood link between the family and friends of Campfield and Hinton. Before everyone got locked up, Jacobs and Campfield were tight. Campfield used to hustle drugs for Jacobs, who admits he once considered himself the kid’s mentor. Jacobs also once dated Hollie Butts, so he knew Nasir personally. Jacobs is currently serving time for a 2006 robbery.
At the time of the shoot-out on Malvern Street, Jacobs was behind bars on unrelated charges. When he got out of jail at the end of the summer, he holed up at a family member’s house in Delaware. According to a statement Jacobs gave detectives when he was being interrogated about the robbery, Campfield called him up and said he needed to talk. Then Campfield visited Jacobs and told him all about the murders.
On the stand, Jacobs wears a blue Department of Corrections shirt buttoned up to the neck and glasses with a slight rosy tint. As he testifies, he slumps back and hoists his elbow onto the back of the chair and twiddles his sparse beard with his other hand.
“I’m not afraid of anything or anyone,” he says. His body language belies the fact that he is scrambling to distance himself from statements he made to detectives that are now being used against Campfield. But he never cut an official deal. Now, on the stand, Jacobs dramatically denies that any of his statement previously given to detectives is true. He claims that he only knew Nasir “vaguely” even though he refers to the dead boy by a nickname, “Naz.”
Fairman reads parts of Jacobs’ statement aloud, then asks Jacobs to re-confirm. “That summer in 2005 when I got out, Man Man came to Delaware to see me.”
“Did he come see you?” she asks.
Jacobs pauses. “Definitely not,” he responds. It goes on like this for a while, Fairman reading lines from the statement and asking Jacobs to affirm them, and Jacobs denying it.
Frustrated, Fairman asks him if these are indeed his statements.
“Yeah,” he responds. “I made it all up though.”
A man in the small audience leaps to his feet and lunges forward, pointing wildly. “Someone did it, motherfucker!”
Judge Rose Marie DeFino-Nastasi yells, “Get out!” The court officer and sheriff rush in. The judge gestures to the jury, “Ignore that!”
At one point, Fairman challenges Jacobs, asking him where he got specific details if none of it was true. “From my imagination,” Jacobs responds.
In his original statement, Jacobs told police that when Campfield came to see him in Delaware, he told him that “the young boy surprised him and [Johnson] put the boy to sleep, meaning he killed him.”
Jacobs said that Campfield told him, “Fuck Alonzo [Robinson]. He should never have killed my man Marty Cool.”
On the stand Jacobs says he made the story up because, “I thought I was in trouble, and I wanted to get out, so I would say anything. I said what they wanted to hear.”
But Detective Jeffrey Piree recalls a different story.
Piree met Jacobs at PPD headquarters in 2006 when Jacobs was there being questioned by another detective on the robbery charges. Piree was minding his business and working his leads, reviewing photos of Malvern Street murder suspects on his computer screen, when he heard someone laugh.
“I heard a chuckle,” he testifies. “I bring up another photo and there’s another smart-ass comment from the same. I said, ‘Is something funny?’ [Jacobs] said, ‘I know those fuckers, they killed a kid.’”
Savage Love: Sondheim is solace