RICHMOND (BCN) — A 16-year-old boy who was gunned down in front of his family’s house in Richmond in January was allegedly killed because somebody from his neighborhood beat up the alleged shooter’s little brother, according to witnesses who testified at a preliminary hearing in Martinez Tuesday.
The two defendants in the case, 16-year-old Richmond resident Tyris Franklin and 19-year-old Suisun City resident Jean Pierre Fordjour, have both been charged with murder with enhancements for the use of a gun. Franklin, the alleged shooter, has been charged as an adult.
A judge ordered them Tuesday to stand trial on the charges.
One witness, a 16-year-old Richmond resident, said he had been hanging out at his house in Richmond with Franklin, Fordjour and two other friends on the afternoon of Jan. 10 when Franklin got a phone call.
The caller told him that his little brother, who was around 12 or 13 years old, had been beaten up by some guys from the Crescent Park neighborhood in Richmond, the witness said.
He said Franklin looked “slightly upset” and asked Fordjour to drive him over to Crescent Park.
The whole group got in the car, two in the front and three in the back, and headed to the neighborhood. Fordjour was driving, and Franklin was riding in the back seat, the witness said.
When the car got there, the Fordjour went down the first street they came to and then made a U-turn when it dead-ended. As they were turning, they spotted the victim, Gene Grisby, crossing the street, the witness said.
He said he recognized Grisby from school and told the group, “You don’t need to get on him.”
Franklin allegedly said, “He’s from the Crescents. They jumped my brother. It don’t matter,” the witness said.
As Franklin got out of the car, the witness said he saw what looked like the silver back of a gun in the pocket of Franklin’s hooded sweatshirt.
He said he watched Franklin walk over toward Grisby, and then he heard several gunshots. He didn’t see Franklin fire the gun because another vehicle was blocking the view, he said.
Franklin then jogged back to the car and got in, and Fordjour sped away.
He slowed down as soon as they were out of the neighborhood, the witness said.
The group drove to Oakland, where they parked and hung out in the car smoking and listening to music. After a while, they drove back to the witness’s house.
The witness claimed he couldn’t remember what was said while they were in the car.
He also claimed that he didn’t know Franklin had a gun until he saw it in Crescent Park, and that he had no idea Franklin allegedly planned to shoot anyone when they went there.
A second witness, a 17-year-old El Cerrito High School student, said he was also with the group the day Grisby was shot.
When he got in the car with them, he said he thought they were just going to the Crescent Park neighborhood to beat somebody up.
He said he also saw that Franklin had a gun as he was getting out of the car, but that he didn’t see the shooting either.
Like the first witness, the second witness claimed he didn’t remember what was said in the car after the shooting.
Tiffany Hollister, Grisby’s aunt, said she was washing clothes in the kitchen sink at her mother’s apartment when she heard gunshots around 3:30 p.m.
She looked out the window and saw a teenager standing over another person shooting down at him as he lay on the ground.
She said all she could see of the victim was his arm sprawled out on the grass.
“I banged on the window while he was shooting, and I said ‘You stupid m—– f—–, I see you,” Hollister said.
She said she was only about six or seven feet from the shooter.
“If the glass wasn’t there, I would be able to touch him,” she said.
When the shooter was done, he ran to a white car stopped nearby and got in, Hollister said.
Moments later, Grisby came into the apartment, located at 4026 Fleming Ave., and said, “’I’ve been hit. I’ve been hit,’” Hollister said.
She said Grisby fell into her mother, and she lay him down on the ground.
“I started talking to him and telling him it was going to be ok,” Hollister said.
Grisby, an El Cerrito High School student, was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to investigators, witnesses followed the suspects’ car and provided a description of it to police.
Shortly before 5:30 p.m. that day, a school resource officer headed to Kennedy High School saw a car that matched the description of the shooter’s car about a half-mile from where Grisby was shot, police said.
The officer, with help from several other officers, stopped the vehicle and arrested the three people inside.
Hollister identified Franklin as the boy she had seen shooting her nephew.
Fordjour’s attorney, David Headley, argued that there was no evidence that Fordjour knew Franklin was allegedly planning to shoot anyone when he drove him to the Crescent Park neighborhood, and therefore could not be charged as an aider and abettor.
Prosecutor Barry Grove, however, argued that Fordjour’s actions showed that he knew an assault of some kind was going to take place.
He knew that Franklin’s little brother had been beat up by people from the Crescent Park neighborhood, and when he stopped the car to let Franklin out, he kept the door open. He also sped off as soon as Franklin got back in, Grove said.
“Clearly this was no surprise to Mr. Fordjour,” Grove said.
Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Nancy Davis Stark said she watched the first witness as he was testifying, and it was clear to her by the way he answered questions from Franklin’s attorney that he knew what Franklin was planning to do.
She said she found sufficient evidence to hold both defendants to stand trial on the charges. They are scheduled to be arraigned on the holding order March 15 in Martinez.
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