‘I didn’t shoot the judge,’ accused Berg gunman says
The man charged with the shooting of a U.S. District judge took the stand Thursday and denied he shot Terrence Berg.
“I didn’t shoot the judge,” Kevin Andre Smith Jr., 23, said in Judge Timothy Kenny’s Wayne Circuit courtroom. “If I shot a judge sir I would have taken a plea agreement.”
Smith’s attorney, John McWilliams, said: “I was surprised that he (testified)” about the March 2015 shooting that injured Berg in the leg.
Smith added he was not into “robbing houses and families” and denied he was part of a crime ring’s robberies that included “walk in” home invasions that involved members of the group forcing victims at gunpoint to walk into their homes where they robbed them.
Under cross-examination Smith admitted he lied when questioned about robberies on the northwest side of Detroit.
The defendant also admitted to the robbery of a Roseville jewelry store but refused to answer questions by Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Robert Moran about who was with him during that robbery in May 2015.
“I’m not getting ready to implicate (anyone else),” Smith said. “I’m manning up to what I did.”
Kenny admonished Smith for not cooperating with Moran saying he was only making himself look bad before jurors but “that’s your choice.”
Smith continues his testimony Monday. He faces numerous charges including assault with intent to commit murder, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and armed robbery.
Smith’s co-conspirator, Robert Williams, took a plea deal and testified last week he saw Smith shoot the judge.
Williams said he and Smith quickly fled as Berg fell to the ground screaming for help. The pair ran to an awaiting car where two others were waiting.
“We was laughing about it,” Williams said about Berg being wounded. Williams also put Smith at “most” of the robberies the ring was being investigated for by Detroit police.
Smith of Detroit backed out of a plea deal May 9 for the shooting of Berg, the day his trial was scheduled to start, saying the prison sentence would have been too stiff.
Berg testified last week about what happened the night he was shot on his front porch after refusing to let an unknown man inside his home.
“I said ‘no, no, no.’ Then he said ‘we have a gun.’ Everything happened quickly. I didn’t want them to come into the house,” Berg testified. “He had a gun. I was concerned he might harm my family or me.”
Berg said he was taking garbage cans to the side of his house and was walking back toward his front porch when he was approached by two men. One of the men followed him up on his porch, went into his jacket and pulled out a gun. Berg testified the gunman was no more than three feet away from him and showed him a firearm — a large, semi-automatic handgun with a wide barrel — before firing it.
“He went bam and shot me in the leg,” Berg said. “I fell on my right side. I started yelling, ‘Help, I’ve been shot. Call 911.’ ”
Berg has been in the courtroom throughout the trial.
Berg’s wife, Anita Sevier, ran to her husband’s side after hearing his cries after he was shot and lying on the family’s front porch, Berg said.
He said the two perpetrators got into a car parked on the street next to his house.
Neighbors, including an emergency room physician, ran to Berg’s aid before he was taken to the hospital by police.
Berg identified the perpetrator who shot him as an African-American male, 18-22 years old, with a slender build, distinctive eyes and slight facial hair in a goatee style.
The shooter wore something over his head, Berg said, which might have been a hoodie or a hat. Both perpetrators wore African-American. But, he testified, he could not positively identify the man who shot him.
Smith has served time in prison for a 2010 home invasion in Oakland County. He also was sentenced to prison in December for a weapons violation and an armed robbery conviction in Wayne County.
There is no court in the trial Friday.