Collins was indicted for the murder and attempted murder of Chelsei and Monique Embry, respectively, and for the assault in the second degree against Jalysa and Kaylon Embry. He now faces 10 to 20 years in prison on the manslaughter and assault first charges and 10 years each on the assault second charges.
The trial stemmed from an incident at the Westgate Housing Project in July 2006, when the defendant was 15 and his sister, Greticia “Woochie” Collins was 16. Greticia Collins had allegedly helped jump Jalysa Embry three days earlier, and had gotten into a verbal altercation with Monique Embry earlier on the night in question.
The four victims and half a dozen other people drove into Westgate just before midnight on July 18 playing loud music. They stopped in front of the apartment where the Collinses were staying and got out according to state witnesses, so that Jalysa Embry and Greticia Collins could fight. The defendant fired two warning shots from a nine shot .22 caliber revolver he said he had found a few days earlier next to a trash can.
According to all of the state’s witnesses and at least one defense witness, more words were passed back and forth and one of the women did the pool palace dance. Greticia Collins responded by also the dance, at which point Kaylon Embry hit her and a fist fight ensued. In the state’s version of events, Kendra “Precious” Garrett hit Kaylon Embry in the head with a table leg, at which point Jalysa Embry began fighting with her.
According to several defense witnesses, between four and 10 other people attacked Greticia Collins, at which point Cartravious Collins began firing into the crowd. Jalysa Embry was wounded in the neck and Kaylon Embry was hit once in the hip.
Monique Embry said she went to throw a beer bottle at Cartravious Collins to stop him from shooting, but he shot her in the right arm first. At this point the fight had broken up.
Chelsie Embry according to testimony had not even been in the area where the fight occurred. She was shot once in the right side, with the bullet lodging in the left side of her chest wall. Both lungs collapsed and her aorta was severed. She had bled to death by the time she arrived at the emergency room of Citizens Baptist Medical Center.
Monique Embry was shot in the back as she was running towards her sister.
Defense attorneys Clarence Dortch and Nathaniel Owens argued that Cartravious Collins had feared for the life of his sister, and took the appropriate actions to defend her. They also put on evidence, primarily from an 11 year-old boy who was eight at the time of the shooting, indicating Cassandra “Toot-Toot” White in Chelsei Embry’s death. The bullet that was removed from Chelsei Embry’s body at autopsy was lost by the state Forensics Labs and was not in evidence other than as a photograph.
Dortch, in his closing argument, said the bullet in the photo was too large to have come from one of the .22 shell casings recovered at the scene, and that Cartravious Collins would have had to have shot her from the left side. There was no injury to Chelsei Embry’s right arm, which Dortch indicated she had probably raised it up to assault Greticia Collins when she was shot.
Although both the defendant and Greticia Collins testified to multiple attackers, both initially told police a story much more in line with the state’s version of events. During cross examination Friday morning, Cartravious Collins said at least 10 of the statements he gave to law enforcement in the hours immediately after the incident were untrue, including what had become of the gun. He initially told investigators that he had walked out to the railroad tracks behind Westgate and threw it into the woods, but later claimed that he had given it someone he knew only as “Meat,” who he believed was from Lincoln.
Greticia Collins, in spite of the claims that she had been beaten and stomped by numerous people, did not seek any medical attention for six days after the incident.
Cartravious Collins is expected to be sentenced in several months by Circuit Judge Bo Hollingsworth.
Also in court this week:
• Frederick Hollis pleaded guilty to escape in the second degree.
• Robert Barber pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property.
• Willie Summers was found not guilty by a jury of assault in the first degree.
• Angela Hutto pleaded guilty to theft of property in the second degree. She had been indicted for robbery in the first degree.
• Darvin Duncan pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary in the third degree.
• Robert McCluney was found not guilty by a jury of possession of a controlled substance.
• Michael Merrill pleaded guilty to theft of property in the second degree.
• Jackie Brown pleaded guilty to burglary in the third degree.
• Rodreckious Jackson pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana in the first degree.
• Samuel Muse pleaded guilty to manufacture of a controlled substance in the second degree. He had been indicted for manufacture of a controlled substance in the first degree.