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After night in jail, 14-year-old testifies he saw 2007 Clearwater murder

LARGO — As a grieving mother, Terria Moore knows there will be no more birthday celebrations for her son, Michael Scott. No Christmases or Fourth of Julys with Scott brandishing his huge smile.

But Moore, 53, found some solace Wednesday in hearing the details from a doctor and a rescue worker about how her 23-year-old son died in an Oct. 8, 2007, shooting in Clearwater's North Greenwood community.

"Michael died at the scene like the fireman said," Moore said. "That released me. He died instantly. He didn't suffer."

It was the first time she had heard that information.

She was among the spectators who crowded a small Pinellas-Pasco Circuit courtroom on the second day of the murder trial for Allan Troi Burney, 21, the man accused of killing her son and wounding another of her sons, Antonio Scott.

Burney, co-creator of a DVD series dubbed the Da Hood Gone Wild, is charged with second-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder in the second degree and shooting at, within, or into a vehicle.

A second man, Gaylord Shaw, 20, faces a second-degree murder charge and shooting at, within, or into a vehicle in the same incident. He will be tried at a later date.

Judge Joseph A. Bulone dismissed the jury of four women and two men about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday because the state's final witness was stuck in another murder trial in Sarasota. Testimony is due to resume at 10 a.m. today with the state's last witness.

Burney's attorney, Ngozi Acholonu, declined to disclose how long the defense's case would last or whether Burney would take the witness stand.

Earlier on Wednesday, 14-year-old Sylvester Brown, dressed in a gray jump suit, swirled in his chair and twirled his hair between his fingers as he sat on the witness stand in courtroom No. 9.

He looked angry. He looked scared. He was emotional. His mother, Rennae Ranson, 35, said her son was "scared to death" to testify.

"They told him that he would be sent to jail for a year if he didn't (testify)," Ranson said. "We have to remember, he was 12 when all this happened. He was scared when he first spoke with police then."

After refusing to testify Tuesday in the murder trial, Brown was held overnight in jail and faced contempt of court charges.

"Sylvester did not like his night in jail and is willing to complete his testimony," state prosecutor David Tobiassen said Wednesday morning.

On the stand, Brown reluctantly described what he saw Oct. 8, 2007, in Clearwater's North Greenwood community.

The shooting took place about 12:45 p.m. at N Betty Lane and Springdale Street after two groups of young men, who had been feuding for several weeks, got into a fight in a convenience store parking lot.

Brown said that Burney and Shaw were at his Springdale Street home that day. After the altercation started, Brown said he saw Burney run inside the house and into a bedroom, where he pulled a Mac 11 gun from under a bed.

When asked how he could identify such a weapon, he said he saw it in a gun book.

Then Brown said he walked to the front door and witnessed the shooting that killed Michael Scott and seriously wounded his brother, Antonio.

He said after the shooting, he saw Burney give the gun to another man and that then Brown and Shaw took a cab to Dunedin.

Brown also testified that he and Shaw met up with Burney at a home on Jade Street. He said Burney made the comment: "I hope that n----- dead."

When the statement was made, Moore held her face in her hands and sobbed.

Police never recovered a weapon in the shooting.

Burney and childhood friend Cortez Hearns created Da Hood Gone Wild series, which chronicled what they called the reality of the streets of North Greenwood. The DVD, which was sold in several stores, depicted street brawls, drug deals and naked women.

Demorris A. Lee can reached dalee@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4174.

After night in jail, 14-year-old testifies he saw 2007 Clearwater murder 08/26/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 8:52pm]
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