Tivontre Gatling-Mouzon had settled in the backseat of his mother’s car for the road trip. Her boyfriend sat in front, and they all drove north to pick up her teenage daughter in Baltimore.
Gatling-Mouzon never saw the gun covered up on the floor, he told a Baltimore jury Monday.
The 21-year-old Richmond man testified as a key state witness in the murder trial of his mother and her boyfriend. Tonya Hayes, 38, and Marquese Winston, 25, are charged with killing a well-known bartender in Locust Point in November 2017. Alex Wroblewski was gunned down outside the Royal Farms on Key Highway.
Gatling-Mouzon accepted a plea deal for eight years in prison. In exchange, he agreed to testify for the state.
Dressed in a yellow prison jumpsuit, he took the witness stand Monday — looking toward his mother, then looking away — as he answered questions for about two hours. He told the jury they had no plan to rob and shoot someone.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys have offered far different portrayals of the deadly encounter. Assistant State’s Attorney Sheryl Atkins told jurors that Wroblewski was stalked and shot to death. Defense attorney Julie Shapiro, however, blamed Wroblewski, saying he lunged forward and instigated the violence.
Gatling-Mouzon said he glimpsed Winston pull a gun, then he turned back and ran for the car. “Before I got in the car, I heard a shot.”
In a moment, Winston was back at the car and climbing into the front passenger seat, he said.
“I start yelling at him, Marquese, like, ‘What you just did? I got a daughter at home!,’ ” he told the jury. “We’re going to get in trouble for your actions. That’s what I was yelling at him for.”
They drove south and Gatling-Mouzon was arrested the next day in Richmond. He admitted to initially lying to detectives and saying he wasn’t even there. Hayes and Winston were arrested in Atlanta, Ga. Authorities charged both of them with 22 counts, including murder, robbery, assault.
Security cameras captured the crime, and attorneys played the footage in the courtroom Monday. It shows Gatling-Mouzon put up his hood as he walks after Wroblewski.
Defense attorney Natalie Finegar asked if he was trying to help his mother. Gatling-Mouzon had insisted they did not plan to rob someone. Yet he accepted a deal under which he pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to commit armed robbery.
“Are you saying that today to just save your mother?” Finegar asked.