But as jurors head into deliberations, they must determine if Perry’s allegiance to his 37th street neighborhood outweighed his friendship, as prosecutors alleged, or if Perry was simply walking with his friends when Marquette Tibbs allegedly shot and killed Jackson to settle a score, as the defense claimed.
“Without Lamonte Perry’s involvement, Andre Jackson would still be alive,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Magdalena Acevedo said during closing arguments Tuesday.
Perry is charged with one count of first degree-murder, three weapons charges and one count of obstruction of justice for allegedly leading Jackson into an ambush that resulted in his death on Nov. 4, 2012.
Tibbs is set for trial on Sept. 15. Charges against a third man, Byron Dunn, were dropped in November 2013.
Defense Attorney Kevin Irving claimed the government’s witnesses could not prove Perry had any knowledge of Tibbs and Dunns’ intentions before they allegedly opened fire behind the 300 block of Ridge Road Southeast.
Jonathan Robinson, who grew up on 37th street, testified that both Tibbs and Perry told him on separate instances about the plans to kill Jackson in response to a shooting at Dunn’s grandmother’s house, which Tibbs thought Jackson committed.
Robinson said he knew Tibbs from when he was younger, but he hadn’t seen him for years before the two met again in prison. There, Robinson said, Tibbs showed him documents that contained statements from witnesses concerning Jackson’s death. Tibbs thought one of the witnesses was Perry, Robinson said.
Later, in a different unit of the prison, Robinson met Perry and told Perry he was disappointed in him for his role in Jackson’s murder because he knew the two were close friends.
Robinson testified that Perry replied, “I know, I’m messed up with myself for this predicament.”
But Irving, the defense attorney, doubted Perry would open up to Robinson so quickly, especially considering Perry robbed Robinson when they were teenagers.
According to Robinson, Perry eventually said that he talked to Tibbs on the phone just before the shooting, and that Tibbs told Perry to lead Jackson behind a building so Tibbs and Dunn could kill Jackson.
Phone records from the night of the murder showed conversations between Perry and Tibbs, as well as between Jackson and Perry and Jackson and Tibbs, according to Durand Odom, an investigator with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
In his grand jury testimony, Perry said he smoked PCP the night of the murder, which caused him to forget certain events.
However, Perry did remember an argument, and the fact that he walked with Tibbs, Dunn and Jackson down the alley. He said he walked behind the group to avoid getting PCP smoke on his friends because they needed to pass drug tests.
When Perry saw Tibbs and Dunn pull out guns, he said, he started running in the opposite direction.
Jurors will receive instructions and begin deliberations on Wednesday morning.