FAIRFIELD — It’s a case of four young black men in a BMW on a Saturday night speeding on North Texas Street. All four of them ended up in jail that night. All four of them had felony charges wind through the court system for nearly two years.
Their cases wrapped up Friday with a jury finding one of them not guilty of a pair of felony charges.
“Four guys, four guns,” the prosecutor told jurors several times at the close of a brief jury trial for Wade Wilson Jr.
On the night of Oct. 27, 2012, Wilson, 22, was in the front passenger seat of the black BMW when Fairfield police officer Chad Grimm spotted the car doing about 45 mph on North Texas. Grimm pulled the BMW over and later claimed he noticed the smell of marijuana coming from the car, even though lawyers for the four men pointed out that no marijuana was found with any of the men or in the car.
Grimm recognized the driver, Blake Johnson, and called for backup. All four men were out of the car within a few minutes.
Johnson, 24, had a gun in his pants pocket. Jason S. Antone, 24, had a gun tucked in the waistband of his pants. Imran Escorcia, 24, was sitting behind Johnson and police found a gun a few inches from where his feet had been, under the driver’s seat.
The fourth gun – all them were loaded and unregistered – was shoved down between the center console and the front passenger seat.
The prosecutor told jurors again and again that the gun was only a few inches from Wilson. He often linked that fact to “Four guys, four guns.” The prosecutor was not counting the fifth gun police later seized during a search of Johnson’s home.
Wilson’s defense attorney told jurors the BMW was not her client’s and since the gun was concealed in the car, he had no way of knowing it was there.
Escorcia was in court earlier this week. He was remanded to serve out a 45-day jail sentence after pleading no contest to having concealed a loaded gun in a car.
Antone also got 45 days of jail time when he was in court in July for carrying a loaded gun.
Johnson got the longest sentence, 473 days in jail, after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor charge of concealing a gun in a car.
Grimm had recognized Johnson because Johnson had shot and killed two men earlier in the year at the Parkway Garden condominium complex. Johnson had been with a drug dealer friend who was selling some marijuana when the buyers decided to rob Johnson. The robbers pulled guns and snatched Johnson’s gold chain as Johnson pulled his own gun.
After the shooting stopped, two of the four robbers were dead and Johnson was unhurt. Johnson was arrested and later released after authorities decided he had acted in self-defense.
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.