Testimony continues in

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 13, 2000

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Staff Writer

A friend of Deiallo Teron Stringer connected him with firing a gun, but testimony, so far, has failed to conclusively put the deadly bullet in the defendant’s hand.

Stringer is standing trial for the shooting death of Komommo Oju Offem, 18, of Tuskegee that occurred March 6, 1998 outside New Image, also known at E.T.’s Lounge on U.S. 231 South between Troy and Brundidge, at approximately 1:44 a.m.

Cedric Askew testified that he accompanied Stringer and another friend to the club that night in Stringer’s green Chevrolet Blazer.

Following an altercation, the three left the building, but Stringer and K.T. Reese got into scuffles outside.

"I said, ‘let’s go,’" Askew said during testimony.

Askew took the driver’s seat because Stringer had been drinking and was upset, he said.

"He had a lot to drink," Askew said.

Although Askew knew a gun identified as a black 380-caliber pistol was in the car, he didn’t know his friend had it.

District Attorney Mark Fuller asked Askew, "Who fired the gun?"

He responded "Teron," and later added "Teron had a gun facing out the window."

After the shooting, Askew drove away from the scene and later took Stringer to his girlfriend’s home, where the backpack containing the weapons was later picked up by police.

"He said he was not trying to shoot at the air; he was trying to shoot at somebody," Askew said, although Stringer did not apparently name his target.

Troy State University football players Tim Betts and Vernon Marable were working security at the party and witnessed the shooting.

When Betts had Reese pinned to the hood of a car, that was when the pistol fell onto the ground, Betts said during testimony.

"I saw the silver gun because it flashed in my face," Betts said of the gun identified as a 22-caliber pistol.

Although he didn’t see anyone pick up the pistol, he soon heard "gun shots to my right."

When he turned around, he saw the victim lying on the ground and someone with "a gun in their hands" pointing out the window of a vehicle.

Marable testified he saw someone fire shots from the passenger side of the green Blazer. He said he saw the "flashes," but didn’t see the shooter’s face.

With testimony from Joe Saloom, a firearms examiner with the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, the state tried to put the firearm that fired the deadly bullet in Stringer’s hands.

The bullet removed from Offem’s head was a 22-caliber bullet and compared to the bullets test fired by Saloom, had "similar characteristics."

However, those characteristics were "not enough to call it a match," Saloom said. "It could have come from that gun."

He said the "microscopic characteristics" were not all the same, but later stated they could have been created or diminished them if a bullet went through the skull or hit a concrete wall, like another bullet found at the scene.

In addition to testimony of the experts and witnesses, the victim’s mother, Elizabeth took the stand to tell jurors about her family.

The Offem’s who live in Auburn are originally from Africa and moved to the United States when their oldest son, Komommo, was only 2 years old.

She showed the jury the last picture taken of the son she last spent time with Valentine’s Day weekend, less than a month before he died from a bullet to the head.

Testimony will resume at 9 a.m. today in the upstairs courtroom at the Pike County Courthouse.