Government presents more witnesses in trial of Derryck Decuir


Taped phone calls played in court this week, capturing a jailhouse conversation between a murder suspect and his girlfriend, sounded like the well-known refrain from one-hit wonder, the Baja Men.

In the conversations between homicide suspect Derryck Decuir and girlfriend Ashley Graves, Decuir asked his beau if she could “let his dogs out” of his backyard.

Prosecutors contended during Thursday’s proceedings that was Decuir’s way of asking his girlfriend to take his gun out of the backyard so police could not find it when they went to his house.

Decuir, who is on trial for the murder of 16-year-old Malek Mercer, is also heard asking Graves if she knew where his “toe nail shells” were, code for bullets, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors called multiple witnesses, including police officers who worked the case, but most of the day centered around Graves’ testimony, which prosecutors tried to show was riddled with inconsistencies from when she testified before a grand jury.

Graves testified she didn’t know what her boyfriend meant when he said  “let the dogs out” or that he was allegedly referring to bullets when he talked about “toe nail shells.”

“No, he had a dog, so I assumed he was talking about his actual dog,” she said.

The prosecutor showed Graves testimony she gave to the grand jury in 2015, when she said, according to transcripts prosecutors presented in court, “At first I didn’t know what he was talking about. But then I put the puzzles together [and] knew he was talking about his gun.”

After she was presented with the transcript, Graves said she did not recall what she said in 2015.

About the toenail shells, Graves told the grand jury, “The toenail shells he was asking me about were actually code for bullets,” according to transcripts prosecutors showed her in court.

Graves said she confronted Decuir when heard he was a person of interest in Mercer’s murder.

“He said it must have been a mistake and that he didn’t do anything,” she said.

The government also called Detective Joseph Labun, an officer assigned to the case, who explained he went to the crime scene after his GPS detected gunshots. He asked Decuir if he heard the shots.

“I asked him where did he think they were coming from,” Labun said. “He pointed the opposite direction of where my GPS had actually detected the gun shot. … So I thought it was strange. He turned away and then started running and I began to chase after him.”

The trial for Decuir, who is being held without bond, resumes Monday.


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