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'Da Hood' creator on trial in Clearwater murder

LARGO — Lawrence Fleming was sitting in the back seat of a car being driven by Michael Scott when he heard gunshots.

He looked to the rear of the car and saw "fire." Bullets were hitting the car. The windows were shattering and he could feel his hair move from the movement of bullets.

Fleming, 26, jumped out of the car and ran.

"I didn't look back, peep back, none of that," Fleming said Tuesday afternoon.

When the bullets stopped flying the afternoon of Oct. 8, 2007, in Clearwater's North Greenwood community, Michael Scott, 23, was dead, and his brother, about a year younger, was seriously wounded.

On Tuesday, the trial started in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court for one of the men authorities say is responsible for the killing: Allan Troi Burney, 21, one of the creators of the Da Hood Gone Wild video series.

Testimony continues today.

Fleming testified Tuesday he saw Burney and co-defendant Gaylord Shaw, 20, standing behind the car from where the "fire" was coming. But he admitted that he didn't see a weapon.

"I heard gunfire. …" Fleming said. "I never saw a gun. … It was coming from them."

Fleming was the second witness of the day at the trial, in which Burney is charged with second-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder in the second degree and shooting at, within, or into a vehicle. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

Shaw will be tried later on a second-degree murder charge and shooting at, within or into a vehicle. His trial was postponed Tuesday because a conflict was discovered between his attorney and defendants in another case.

The first witness in the trial could be held in contempt today for refusing to testify.

Sylvester Brown, 14, was taken into custody, where he will remain until a hearing at 8:30 a.m. today.

"You could get up to a year in jail," Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Joseph A. Bulone told the boy. The judge also said that if the boy decides to cooperate today, he would not adjudicate him on the contempt charge.

When it was clear Brown was refusing to testify about 4 p.m., Bulone called for a recess and sent the jury out of the courtroom to give prosecutors a chance to speak with Brown. After a 10-minute delay, he still refused to testify.

The Oct. 8, 2007, shooting took place about 12:45 p.m. at N Betty Lane and Springdale Street after two groups, who had been feuding for several weeks, got into a fight in a convenience store parking lot.

Fleming testified Tuesday that Willie Scott, Michael and Anthony's brother, had a verbal confrontation with Burney just before the shooting started. The three brothers and Fleming were riding in the same car.

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

The DVD dismayed Clearwater officials and sparked a series of meetings by Mayor Frank Hibbard aimed at getting churches and others in the community to work with police to improve the neighborhood.

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

'Da Hood' creator on trial in Clearwater murder 08/25/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 8:09pm]
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