Trial opens for ex-death row inmate accused in 2010 fatal shooting


DOVER — Repeatedly acknowledging past lies in connection with the 2010 shooting death of a Maryland man during an alleged drug deal turned robbery, an incarcerated witness testified Monday that Isaiah W. McCoy was responsible for the fatal incident.

Deshaun White, 26, of Dover, claimed he was present when Mr. McCoy allegedly shot James J. Munford, of Salisbury. They were meeting to exchange Ecstasy pills for cash in a Rodney Village area parking lot on May 4, 2010.

Mr. Munford, 30, died from his wounds to the upper torso at Bayhealth-Kent General Hospital in Dover.

Mr. McCoy is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and second-degree conspiracy, and could perhaps receive life in prison with a conviction. He was served approximately 6 1/2 years in prison since his arrest and a subsequent 2012 mistrial that once put him on death row.

Judge Robert B. Young is overseeing the bench trial.

The witness, serving a 15-year-prison sentence for his role in Mr. Munford’s death, confirmed a plea agreement with the state to testify. But he maintained that his reported honesty now is based on maturity and hope for living a positive life upon release — and not because of a sentence reduction.

McCoy Isaiah by .

Isaiah McCoy

Answering to defense lawyer Michael Wiseman for over an hour, White admitted to several falsehoods given to police and others after investigation into Mr. Munford’s death began and arrests were made over six years ago.

The witness said he was addicted to prescription pills and doing “idiotic things” as the case unfolded, and had not yet realized that he could live a productive life with rehabilitation and commitment to telling the truth.

Before Deputy Attorney General Greg Babowal, White testified to stating four times he believed Mr. McCoy had committed a robbery and ensuing murder — twice during police interviews in 2010, at an original trial in 2012 and on the witness stand Monday morning.

White testified to accompanying his uncle Mr. McCoy to the bowling alley in 2010, watching him enter a white SUV and then hearing two gunshots. After watching Mr. Munford stagger away, White alleged that he entered the vehicle and drove it from the scene with Mr. McCoy still in the backseat.

White alleged that he gave Mr. McCoy a lunch box containing illegal pills because he had orchestrated the drug transaction.

A nearby resident testified that he heard up to four shots during the sequence and saw a white late model Chevrolet Tahoe drive past.

The duo left the vehicle in a nearby driveway, according to White, and went to a home they shared with Mr. McCoy’s grandmother in the 300 block of David Hall Road.

The home was close enough to the alleged crime scene that White said he could hear police sirens and helicopters overhead as law enforcement responded.

“I assumed police were going to bust into the house, arrest us, things of that nature,” White recalled.

By mutual agreement, White said he and Mr. McCoy allegedly burned their clothes in a backyard pit to eliminate potential evidence.

The defense pointed to White’s inconsistent and changing versions of events, all in an alleged attempt to protect himself from consequences of the shooting.

While White referenced a person named “Pistol” in a letter to a friend afterward, he said he had actually made that up to impress a friend while making references to gang involvement, along with other names to earn “street cred.”

Mr. McCoy believes that “Pistol” was in fact the person who was with White during the shooting, according to Mr. Wiseman.

Asked about an affidavit that would seemingly absolve the duo any wrong doing, White said he was approached by another inmate to create it and “I didn’t know anyone and wasn’t used to being in incarceration.

“My fear was what would happen if I didn’t write it.”

In an opening statement, Mr. Wiseman said White twice admitted to the shooting and pointed to two eyewitnesses who would testify that Mr. McCoy was not present at the time.

At one point earlier, White told investigators he and Mr. McCoy were going to the Dover Mall before the incident to purchase clothes. On Monday, he refuted that and said Mr. McCoy arranged a drug deal at the bowling alley which they both walked to together.

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