Lawyer: Bordley didn’t fire gun in Port Mahon shooting death

Three persons were charged with felonies by police after a man was shot to death on the Port Mahon pier on March 29, 2016. Delaware State News/file photo

DOVER — A 24-year-old Smyrna man, through his attorney on Tuesday, denied triggering the gun that killed another man at the Port Mahon pier during an alleged robbery attempt for drugs and money.

Chelsea Braunskill, not defendant Daiquan T. Bordley, supposedly shot Dontray Hendricks to death late on the night of March 29, 2016, attorney Andre’ M. Beauregard claimed in his opening statement for the Kent County Superior Court trial.

Braunskill earlier pleaded guilty to charges in the case and was scheduled to testify today as a prosecution witness in the matter before Resident Judge William L. Witham Jr.

Also on Tuesday, Mr. Beauregard indicated Mr. Bordley and another defense witness at the scene will testify at some point during the trial.

Daiquan T. Bordley

Deputy Attorney General Alicia A. Porter alleged in her opening statement that Delaware State Police investigation determined that Mr. Bordley approached Mr. Hendricks on the pier and said “You know what this is” before fatally shooting him. She described Mr. Hendricks as gasping for air and gurgling on his own blood as four other people left the area.

Mr. Hendricks was pronounced dead at the scene by an EMT, according to the prosecution, and a ballistics expert would confirm the firearm presented as evidence was used.

Indicted charges include first-degree murder and robbery counts, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and second-degree conspiracy.

From the witness stand, alleged co-conspirator Zhyhee Harmon testified to seeing the defendant wrestling with Mr. Hendricks before allegedly shooting him. Mr. Harmon earlier pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by person prohibited and second-degree conspiracy, but said that had nothing to do with his testimony.

“I’m just here to tell the truth,” he said.

Mr. Beauregard questioned Harmon’s sometimes conflicting statements given in court Tuesday and in a police interview on May 4, 2016. Acknowledging some discrepancies and saying he didn’t remember other past statements, Harmon explained the differences resulted because he was “nervous” and “There was a lot going on, it was too much at the time.”

Discussing the gun

Mr. Hendricks had been targeted after a social media post regarding money and marijuana, DAG Porter said. Harmon described the supposedly planned robbery in slang terms as a “lick.”

According to the prosecution, Mr. Bordley asked Harmon to sell the purple-colored gun supposedly used in the shooting shortly afterward. Harmon sold the firearm that ended up with law enforcement, DAG Porter said.

According to Mr. Beauregard, the gun was actually pink colored and sold to a confidential informant for the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms bureau.

Initially, Harmon claimed Tuesday, Mr. Bordley approached him seeking to purchase a gun about a week or two before the shooting because “he knew I could get it.” In an earlier statement to police he said Braunskill gave him cash for the weapon and said it was for her.

“That wasn’t the truth,” Harmon said Tuesday.

Harmon described the weapon as a “chrome (Cobra 380)” with a white handle. He testified to receiving the payment money from Mr. Bordley and didn’t know Braunskill would be present at the time. Harmon said he knew Braunskill “not that well.”

Harmon alleged that Mr. Bordley approached him the day after the shooting and asked that the gun be sold. The following transaction occurred in a Capitol Green neighborhood alley in Dover, he said, and was recorded on video by law enforcement. Still photos of the incident were shown Tuesday at trial.

The prosecution claimed Braunskill was a casual friend of Mr. Hendricks and texted with Mr. Bordley while setting up a robbery.

Leaving the scene

After a shot was fired, DAG Porter said, Ms. Braunskill and her roommate left in Mr. Hendricks car, while Mr. Bordley and two other men departed in his vehicle, she said. The two vehicles drove to Persimmon Tree Apartments in Dover, DAG Porter said, and Mr. Hendricks car was left there.

The DAG described Braunskill is being in a “panic” afterward and Mr. Bordley as “calm,” which was repeated by Harmon during testimony.

Mr. Bordley kept the handgun in question in his vehicle’s glove compartment, the prosecution maintained. Braunskill and Mr. Bordley were described as “good friends, they worked together to make money.”

Mr. Beauregard described Braunskill as a drug dealing Delaware State University student at the time of the shooting. She was “fed up” with being “ripped off” at the time the gun was purchased, the attorney said.

Harmon said he “hung out a lot” at DSU, “every day for years” in the gym, but never attended the school.

At no point did Braunskill blame anyone else during multiple text messages, the defense attorney said, and she was “only worried about” being implicated in the shooting. Mr. Hendricks was also a drug dealer at the time, he alleged.

While Braunskill exchanged texts afterward, the defense claimed Harmon was using Mr. Bordley’s phone at the time.

A lack of gunshot residue, video, DNA or fingerprint evidence further distanced Mr. Bordley from the shooting, according to the defense. Inconsistent statements from witnesses would also supposedly benefit Mr. Bordley’s contentions, Mr. Beauregard said.
Mr. Beauregard said the incident took place around 11 p.m. on a dark night with six people on the pier, further complicating any identification of a shooter.

Harmon testified to spending part of the day of the shooting with Mr. Bordley at a gymnasium and later buying marijuana from him. The duo was joined by Harmon’s relative (who was not charged) in the trip to Port Mahon, he claimed.

The defense attorney described Mr. Bordley full-time student who worked three part-time jobs, dealt small amounts of marijuana and had no prior criminal record.

Deputy Attorney General Lindsay A. Taylor is also prosecuting the case with DAG Porter.

Court records indicated Mr. Bordley is being held at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna. He was arrested without incident in the Chestnut Street area in Smyrna on April 29, 2016 and indicted by a grand jury on July 5, 2016. He waived the right to a speedy trial on Aug. 4, 2017.

Mr. Beauregard said an earlier plea offer was declined.

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