MAGNOLIA, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi man on trial in the 2017 shooting deaths of eight people had previously helped two of those who were killed, his brother testified Thursday.
Willie Cory Godbolt cared deeply for his cousin’s son, 18-year-old Jordan Blackwell, and Jordan’s cousin, 11-year-old Austin Edwards, said his older brother, Chris Godbolt Jr.
The Daily Leader reported that the older Godbolt broke down in tears before testifying and was emotional on the stand.
“Cory loved them kids,” Chris Godbolt Jr. said, wiping away tears.
“Did he ever take up time with them?” Assistant District Attorney Brendon Adams asked.
“All the time,” Chris Godbolt Jr. replied.
He testified that his brother spent time with Blackwell, a junior at Brookhaven High School and a player on the football team. They’d often toss a football.
Edwards and Blackwell were shot and killed at Blackwell’s home in Bogue Chitto. Investigators say that was the second of three places were people were killed.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Godbolt, 37. He previously pleaded not guilty to four counts of capital murder, four counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, two counts of kidnapping and one count of armed robbery.
Those killed included a sheriff’s deputy and some relatives of Godbolt. According to testimony earlier in the trial, law enforcement was called after Godbolt went to his in-laws’ home and argued with his estranged wife about their children.
When Willie Cory Godbolt left the home where the young cousins were killed, he made his way around Lincoln County in a stolen car, prosecutors said. He arrived at his aunt’s house with a 16-year-old he had kidnapped from the Blackwell house after the shootings. He demanded that his younger brother Kenyatta Godbolt give him keys to another car.
“He told me I had five seconds to get him one or he was going to kill everyone in there,” Kenyatta Godbolt testified Thursday.
He said his brother started counting down from five with one of the rifles on the teenager’s shoulder pointed at him. When he got to two, Kenyatta Godbolt ran screaming into the house and got keys.
He said he threw a rock at the car as they left and then he flagged down a police officer soon after and told him which direction his brother had gone.
Mississippi Crime Lab investigator Terrence Packer on Thursday identified several guns that were recovered at the third home where people were killed. The jury was shown photographs of the guns and dozens of projectiles and shell casings from the two rifles and two pistols scattered about the living room where the a body lay just inside the bullet-ridden door.