Lawyer: Defendant ‘surprised’ when Smyrna shooting occurred

DOVER — Defendant Devante L. Blocker was surprised when his friend return with a rifle and discharged a round that wounded two men in a vehicle last year in Smyrna, his attorney maintained in opening statements Tuesday afternoon.

The prosecution offered the scenario, however, that the 21-year-Smyrna man put his arm on the vehicle to stop it from leaving, then stepped out of the way as Jeffrey T. Thomas shot an AR-15 style firearm into the passenger’s side around 10 p.m. in the 400 block of Baldwin Drive.

While Deputy Attorney General Lindsay Taylor said Mr. Blocker was charged for his role as an alleged accomplice, defense lawyer Zachary George said there was no accusation that he ever brought, possessed or fired a weapon.

Charges against Mr. Blocker include felony assault and reckless endangering, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and second-degree conspiracy.
He has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Earlier in the day, Thomas pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, first-degree reckless endangering, first- and second-degree assault and second-degree conspiracy.
He was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison followed by decreasing probation.

A 20-year-old Smyrna man who suffered knee wounds requiring a right leg amputation testified that he heard Mr. Blocker say “Go get it” prior to Thomas leaving the scene for one or two minutes and then returning.
He said he had taken one or two puffs of marijuana just as the men arrived on the scene.

One other man in the vehicle was wounded and a third was unscathed, the prosecution said. The men knew each other from attending schools in the Smyrna School District, according to testimony.

While the man told police he heard Thomas ask, “Do you want me to go get it?” in the immediate aftermath last year, according to an interview transcript, he said Tuesday that he did not recall anything said other than Mr. Blocker’s “you know me” utterance to him.

The man said he saw a muzzle flash and heard three shots, and claimed that Thomas discharged a firearm into his vehicle. He testified to speeding out of the parking lot, striking a curb and flattening a tire in the process. Eventually the man said he passed out before transport to the hospital.

No firearm was discovered by police in the investigation.
Smyrna PD Detective Brien Street testified to finding an AR scope, live .223 round and marijuana in the back bedroom of a unit block of North Fairfield Drive home where Mr. Blocker and Thomas lived, along with an identification card of Mr. Blocker in another bedroom.

The man who testified said he underwent more than 15 surgeries and was hospitalized 36 days at Kent General and Christiana.
The trial, overseen by Judge Jeffrey J. Clark, resumes at 9 a.m. today.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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