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Video interviews reveal shooting details in Baldwin murder trial

By Erin Smith

Videos of two interviews conducted by investigators with Christopher Baldwin punctuated the afternoon on Thursday as testimony continued in Baldwin’s murder trial in Bladen County Superior Court. Baldwin is on trial for the shooting death of Darrell Council in November 2015.

In the videos played in court, jurors heard Baldwin first tell Investigator Morgan Johnson in an interview conducted at the Lumberton Police Department he was home on Sunday, November 8, 2015, with his family all day. In a second interview, which took place at the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office later the same night, Baldwin admits that he was present when the shooting took place.

“I went there. I did fire a gun, but I didn’t shoot anyone,” Baldwin is heard saying on the video in answer to Investigator Johnson’s questions about the shooting.

In the video Investigator Johnson asked Baldwin to recount the events of Sunday, November 8, 2015. Baldwin is heard stating he went home for a brief time and then D’Nayza Downing and Shanika Mitchell came and picked him up.

Baldwin said he went to another location before walking to his position where the shooting took place in the intersection of Center Road and Twisted Hickory Road. He recounted watching Darrell Council’s vehicle pull in the driveway and drop D’Nayza Downing and Shanika Mitchell off.

“When he (Council) pulled back out, that was when it (the shooting) happened,” said Baldwin in the video interview.

In the video, Baldwin recounts how he and Montise Mitchell immediately left the area after the shooting and picked the girls up and left.

When asked what he did with his weapon, Baldwin claimed he sold it to someone who took the gun “up North.”

Investigator Johnson also testified regarding the efforts to search for and preserve evidence. According to testimony on Thursday, there was a total of 13 shots fired from what appears to be the location where Baldwin claimed he was standing.

Investigator Johnson testified during the course of the  investigation, two different locations were found where two different shooters were standing. He testified that ballistics testing on shell casings found at the scene indicated two different weapons were used in the shooting.

Bladen County Assistant District Attorney Quentin McGee introduced into evidence a 9mm gun which was seized when Montise Mitchell was arrested. Defense Attorney Gregory Bullard objected to its admission as evidence due to the fact ballistics testing proved that it was not the weapon used in the shooting.

“The weapon does not support any element of this offense,” argued Bullard. He noted that the weapon being introduced into evidence, was not used at either shooting location and he argued the weapon could prejudice the jury.

Judge Imelda Pate reminded Bullard that the jury has already heard earlier testimony in the case about the fact a weapon was seized with the arrest of Montise Mitchell.

“Do you want me to preclude that testimony also?” asked Judge Pate.

Bullard replied that was not what he was requesting.

Assistant District Attorney McGee stated once more the weapon being introduced into evidence was seized from the co-defendant Montise Mitchell. He added that ballistics tests performed on the weapon showed it was not fired at either location.

Judge Pate ruled the gun could be admitted into evidence.

Testimony was scheduled to continue on Friday morning.

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