Witness explains shifting stories at Ward murder trial

Raymond Ward

DOVER — A witness in Raymond Ward’s murder trial attributed his own shifting versions of a 2017 shooting incident as a product of his background Thursday afternoon in Superior Court.

“I changed (stories) because where I’m from cooperating with police and law enforcement can be (seen) as snitching and you can put yourself in danger and a lot of your loved ones too,” said Gregory Sellers, who pleaded guilty to three felonies in the case and early signed an agreement to testify.

Mr. Ward, a Camden-Wyoming resident, was charged with first-degree murder after 21-year-old Dequan Dukes was shot to death at the Pine Grove Apartments complex on June 27, 2017. He pleaded not guilty.

According to Sellers from the witness stand, Mr. Ward called him the day of the shooting asking for a ride to a planned robbery. He said he transported Ward and a second man — Brett A. Scott — to the scene. Mr. Scott was earlier convicted of second-degree murder after police said he exchanged gunshots with Mr. Dukes.

During the day, Sellers testified, he shared his phone with Mr. Ward to communicate with alleged co-conspirator Lisa Wagaman, who has a pending case and testified earlier in the trial. Sellers admitted to first telling police that Mr. Ward had the phone during the entire alleged sequence, and also first claimed to be forced into being the driver, which he later recanted.

After driving himself and the other two men to Pine Grove, Sellers testified, Mr. Ward directed him where to park before exiting with Scott and approaching a vehicle occupied by Mr. Dukes. He claimed that Scott “went to his waist,” Mr. Dukes fired a weapon and Scott returned fire. He allegedly saw Scott fall to the ground and watched Mr. Ward pick up a gun.

After loading a wounded Scott into his vehicle, Sellers said he drove him to Bayhealth-Kent General Hospital about five minutes away. He pushed him up to the entrance in a wheelchair, where he claimed he was greeted by a nurse before departing.

After pleading guilty to first-degree attempted robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and second-degree conspiracy, Sellers is facing 6 to 52 years in prison when sentenced. He’s been in custody since June 29, 2017.

Sellers told defense attorney Thomas D. Donovan (joined by attorney Zachary A. George) that he switched shoes with other people, let others use his phone and kept photos of other people’s guns on his own phone.

Deputy Attorneys General Jason C. Cohee and Stephen E. Smith are prosecuting the jury trial overseen by Judge Jeffrey J. Clark.

A police detective is expected to be called to testify Monday, and Mr. Ward will decide whether he opts to take the stand.

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