Witnesses close to case called to stand in Zaevion Dobson murder trial

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - The state called more witnesses to the stand Wednesday to testify in the Zaevion Dobson murder trial.

Dobson was shot and killed on December 17, 2015, after shielding friends from gunfire at a Lonsdale apartment.

Christopher Bassett, Richard Williams III, and Kipling Colbert Jr. are standing trial for murder and attempted murder. The state is arguing a territorial gang rivalry is the reason for Zaevion's death.

Bassett's attorney said Tuesday he is not a gang member. The attorney for Colbert said he is innocent and Williams' attorney urged the jury to pay attention to the facts. 

During testimony Wednesday from an evidence technician with the Knoxville Police Department, Zenobia Dobson, Zaevion's mother, broke down crying. The evidence technician was showing the jury the sweatshirt Zaevion was wearing when he died.

Judge Sword dismissed the court for a quick recess to allow Zenobia and her son Zack, Zaevion's brother, to step out of the courtroom. When family and friends came back inside, a defense attorney motioned for a mistrial. Judge Sword denied the request because he said there is no debate on whether Zaevion was murdered or not.

The state also called Larry North, a former friend of the three defendants. North admitted he had no desire to be there. In April, Williams was convicted of shooting North. North spoke to police after his cousin, Brandon Perry, was shot and killed at Green Hills Apartments. The shooting happened the same night Zaevion was murdered.

Perry, a friend of the defendants', was the driver of a vehicle that crashed into the apartment complex. North was at Green Hills Apartments at the time of the shooting and came outside when he heard gunfire. Then, he agreed to talk to police.

North told police then in a taped interview all three defendants got in a car together and said they were going to go to the west side. In that interview, he also said all three had handguns. However, North had trouble remembering these details in court.

Natasha Colbert also testified on the stand. She lived in the Lonsdale apartment where Zaevion Dobson was shot and killed. She found Zaevion on the back porch and told Zack.

"He just started crying and said get up and I said, baby, I think he gone," said Colbert.

She also said she saw a black BMW back out of her driveway that night. This is a crucial part of the state's case because it is arguing Bassett owns a black BMW. That same car crashed into Green Hills apartments.

In cross examination with Colbert, the defense emphasized she did not see who was in the black BMW when it pulled out of the driveway.

The trial will resume on Thursday. Zack is expected to testify. Kiarra Rucker and Faith Gordon, the two girls Zaevion shielded from gun fire, are also expected to take the stand.


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