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Clearwater murder trial goes to jury

LARGO — A jury of four women and two men took to a windowless room and started deciding Gaylord Shaw's fate late Thursday afternoon.

Now they must wade through two days of testimony that was challenged at every turn and decide if Shaw, 21, is guilty. He could spend the rest of his life in prison for a 2007 murder in Clearwater's North Greenwood neighborhood.

"I wondered if I was in the same courtroom," attorney Cynthia Lakeman told the jury after listening to the state's version of events.

But one thing wasn't disputed.

"Michael Scott is dead and that's an uncontested fact," prosecutor Christopher LaBruzzo said.

Shaw, 21, is the second person to face murder charges in the death of Michael Scott, 23, and the shooting of Antonio Scott, 26, who was seriously injured. In August, Allan Burney, 21, was convicted of second-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder in the second degree and shooting at, within, or into a vehicle. He was sentenced to life in prison.

The state contends that on Oct. 8, 2007, about 12:45 p.m., Burney, with a MAC-11 and Shaw, with a .357-caliber revolver, fired their weapons into a car being driven by Michael Scott. Antonio was a passenger in the back seat.

Thursday morning, Lakeman recalled Antonio Scott to the witness stand. She also called four other witnesses in an effort to counter Scott's prior testimony that he was "absolutely" sure that it was Shaw whom he saw pulling the trigger.

Shaw's sister, Erica Shaw, alerted the court Wednesday that she heard a relative tell Scott outside the courtroom to stop talking after hearing him say he couldn't remember who shot him.

In an effort to counter the attack on Scott's recollection, state attorney David Tobiassen played an audio interview taken eight days after the shooting. On the tape, Scott is heard saying he saw Gaylord Shaw shooting.

Also during the day, 14-year-old Sylvester Brown testified that he saw Burney pull a MAC-11 from underneath a bed in his home but that he said he never saw Shaw with a gun.

After his testimony was complete Thursday, Brown was met by police officers and arrested outside the courtroom on a domestic battery charge.

Brown testified Thursday that after the shooting, he, Shaw and Burney met in the back yard. He said Shaw told him, "I don't want you around this stuff" and told him to meet him on Jade Street. Shaw and Brown then caught a cab to Dunedin.

About 5:45 p.m., Brown said, Shaw came to the Pinellas County jail to put money in the account of a friend who was incarcerated. That same day, Shaw turned himself in to authorities.

"If someone just committed a murder or helped, are they going to show up at the county jail where all these officers are around," Lakeman asked the jury.

"You promised, you took an oath that if they didn't prove what they set out to prove, you'll find Mr. Shaw not guilty."

The jury started deliberating about 4:45 p.m.

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

Clearwater murder trial goes to jury 04/22/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 22, 2010 8:01pm]
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