Stringer: Shots fired into air,

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 14, 2000

not victim, as a ritual


Staff Writer

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Sept. 13, 2000 10 PM

Testimony regarding the death of her son took its toll on Elizabeth Offem Wednesday.

During testimony from a witness, Offem broke down in tears saying, "He killed my son. He killed him," she said hitting the table in front of her.

That outburst came after Al Lucas, a signee with the Pittsburgh Steelers, testified he saw Komommo Oju Offem fall to the ground from a

bullet wound to the head during an incident on March 6, 1998 outside New Image ­ also known as E.T.’s Lounge ­ on U.S. 231 South between Troy and Brundidge.

At the time of his death, the 18-year-old Offem was a student at Troy State University.

The shooting, that later resulted in the death of Offem, occurred at approximately 1:44 a.m. and Deiallo Teron Stringer is charged with the crime of murder in connection with the case.

Testimony came to a close Wednesday afternoon, but the defense put several witnesses on the stand, including the defendant, before resting its case.

Stringer, who is a former Troy State University student now residing in Georgia, admitted on the stand he fired the chrome 22-caliber pistol out the passenger window of his green Chevrolet Blazer; however, he denied intent to hurt or kill.

He testified he and two friends, K.T. Reese and Cedric Askew, went to a College Night party at the club like they did many Thursday nights.

During his time on the stand, he described what transpired that night, including getting into a scuffle with Troy State football players employed as security.

When asked if he shot a pistol when leaving the club, Stringer replied, "Yes, sir, I did."

However, he said he shot "four or five times" with his arm pointed skyward and not directly at anyone.

After pulling onto the highway, Reese reportedly told Stringer to "gimme the gun. gimme the gun!"

Stringer handed him the gun and Reese proceeded to fire shots out the same window over Stringer’s shoulder.

When asked why he was shooting a gun that night, he said it was a ritual.

"It was just something that goes on every Thursday," Stringer said during testimony, adding he had previously fired a gun at the club on other occasions.

"We laughed all the way back (to Troy)," Stringer said, adding he didn’t see anyone fall or hear anyone scream.

He later said he did not know Offem.

After leaving the scene, Stringer said he and his friends went to Askew’s apartment and later took the two pistols entered into evidence to a friend’s house because they had been warned the police were trying to locate people who had been at the club and they shouldn’t get caught with the firearms.

He said the .380-caliber black pistol belonged to him, but the chrome colored .22-caliber did not.

Assistant District Attorney Larry Jarrell questioned Stringer as to why he would risk getting back into the vehicle and driving to another’s house to leave the weapons.

His reply was he didn’t want to get Askew in any trouble by leaving it with him.

He also stated he didn’t want to take it to his girlfriend’s apartment.

"Why would I take ’em where I’m going to lay my head?" Stringer asked.

As to why he fired the gun, Stringer said he was "just doing what everyone was doing."

Jarrell also asked Stringer if it was "possible" he had indeed shot Offem.

"No, sir," he replied.

Contradicting testimony was given by Stringer’s girlfriend at the time and her roommate. Both gave different accounts of such things as when the shots started and who was driving Stringer’s vehicle.

After testimony had been completed, the jury was asked to leave so the attorneys and Circuit Judge Thomas Head could discuss any motions.

While that was going on, Stringer went over to sit behind his mother. After hugging her, he wiped his face as if wiping away tears.

They held hands as the judge told the attorneys he didn’t "see any basis for a lesser-included (offense)," which is an offense submitted to the jury should the prosecution’s proof fail to establish guilt. For example, assault is ordinarily a lesser-included element of murder.

After inviting the jury back into the courtroom, everyone else was asked to leave so the jury could decide whether they wanted to continue with closing arguments or begin Thursday morning. Because of the time, estimated to be about three hours, the jury chose to return for closing arguments this morning.

Closing arguments will be being at 9 a.m. Then, the jury will be given instructions before deliberating.