Testimony concluded for the week on Friday for the Zaevion Dobson murder trial in Knox County court. Christopher Bassett, Kipling Colbert Jr. and Richard Williams III are charged with murder and attempted murder. Dobson, 15, was shot and killed on a back porch in Lonsdale nearly two years ago.
The state argued territorial gang rivalry was the reason for Dobson’s murder. A gang investigator for the Knox County Sheriff’s Office had the longest testimony on Friday. He is the state’s first expert witness.
The gang investigator talked about the rival gangs in Knoxville, the Bloods and the Crips. He said Bloods territory is on the east side of Knoxville, which is east of I-275. He said Crips territory is on the west side of Knoxville, which includes the Lonsdale area.
“If somebody offends you in some way, comes into your territory, sets up a drug house, sells drugs in your area, commits a drive-by shooting in your area, it must be answered,” he said.
One of the most controversial pieces of evidence was a rap video which includes all three defendants. The state had the gang investigator interpret the lyrics in the rap video. He said it was “definitely a Bloods song.”
He also noted the people in the video are wearing red bandanas. He said members of the Bloods or a sect of the Bloods typically wear the color red.
In cross examination, the gang investigator said he had no record of any defendant listed as a gang member. However, he said just because someone is not on the list does not mean they are not a gang member.
The gang investigator has nearly 20 years of experience on the gang unit for local law enforcement. He said he’s testified in 29 trials as an expert. This is the first one he has not had any record of the defendants in the case.
The state also called up Knoxville Police Department officers who responded to a traffic stop involving Williams in 2016. During that traffic stop, the officers confiscated a .40 caliber handgun. They said it was found underneath Williams’ seat. Other witnesses this week testified this gun fired the bullet that killed Dobson.
Williams’ attorney argued the officers had no idea how long it had been in the car and the vehicle is not registered under William’s name.
Finally, a Knoxville Police Department officer testified about a pursuit involving Williams and Colbert. He said Williams was captured. Colbert was not captured but he turned himself in that day.
Testimony will continue on Monday.