Friends of victim and suspect testify in Derryck Decuir trial

The alleged chain of events that led to the death of a teenager were described to the jury Monday by friends of the suspect and victim.

Rachean Bethea testified Monday in the trial of Derryck Decuir, who was charged with Malek Mercer’s murder. Bethea is the older brother of Tyshawn Bethea, and called the police when his younger brother called to say their friend had been shot.

The prosecution played the 911 tape between Bethea and a dispatcher where Bethea called for help. When asked what he remembers about his brother after the shooting, Bethea described having to console and caress his brother “like a baby” because he was so upset.

“He was like my little brother, I would see him almost every day.” Bethea said of Mercer.

Decuir’s defense has argued he acted in self-defense, and that Mercer had a gun in a bag he carried when he was shot. The defense showed a photo of both of the Bethea brothers holding a gun in a photo. Though Bethea confirmed he had been arrested and charged with carrying a pistol, he vehemently deneid he had ever asked Mercer to hold a gun in his bag.

The defense called Anthony Ryans as a witness, who was one of two men with Decuir the night he shot Mercer. Ryans, who was wearing a GPS tracking ankle bracelet at the time of the shooting was on parole for another crime. He turned himself into police following the shooting so police would not believe he was the murder suspect.

On the night of the shooting, the three men were on their way back from Decuir’s father’s funeral. Decuir and Ryans are best friends and cousins, Ryans said in court. When the three men got off the bus, they parted ways. Ryans heard a gunshot and panicked.



“I know a gun shot when I hear one…I ducked a little bit when I heard the gunshot because I wasn’t trying to get shot,” Ryans said.

Ryans told the jury he and McCaskill shook their heads in disappointment when Decuir caught up with them after he shot Mercer.

“When he caught up to me, I started panicking because I knew he was in a bad situation,” Ryans said during his testimony on Monday.

When the government asked him what happened after he got home the night of the shooting, Ryans said he was sad.

“When I came home, I got in the shower and started crying because [the shooting] happened for no reason.” Ryans said said to the jury in court on Monday.

Decuir declined to go to the police with him and asked Ryans to call him Derryck Miles. Miles was the last name of Decuir’s late father.

The trial is still in progress, and will resume on Tuesday.



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