Cellphone video captures slaying in Chattanooga

Cellphone video captures slaying in Chattanooga

September 21st, 2011 by Kate Harrison Belz in News

Lathe Corbin looks around during a preliminary hearing Tuesday in Hamilton County General Session Judge Clarence Shattuck's courtroom. Corbin is charged with first-degree murder in the Sept. 12 shooting death of Aundre Bush on Southern Street.

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

The footage is shaky, but the cellphone video used to record a fight that broke out on Southern Street caught the moment distinctly: A man fires a gun at a 19-year-old, who crumples to the ground.

The case of a man accused of killing Aundre Bush during a brawl among a group of teenage girls on Sept. 12 has been bound over to the Hamilton County grand jury after the judge watched the cellphone video of Bush's slaying.

General Sessions Judge Clarence Shattuck upped Lathe Corbin's charges from criminal homicide to first-degree murder after reviewing the footage.

Corbin, 30, remains in custody at the Hamilton County Jail on a $1 million bond.

As he pulled out an easel and an iPad to show the video in Shattuck's courtroom Tuesday, Hamilton County District Attorney General Bill Cox told the court that they had the rare opportunity to "see someone kill somebody in cold blood."

The grainy video shows a large group of teenage girls and women shouting at one another while waving sticks and bats in the street at the Harriet Tubman public housing development.

As the fighting escalates, several men become involved, including Bush and Corbin.

Suddenly, a man identified as Corbin pulls a handgun and fires it at least twice at Bush, who is about 25 feet away and retreating. Bush falls to the pavement as the shooter runs from the scene.

Several women start screaming and gather around Bush before the camera cuts off.

"It looked like mass commotion," testified Chattanooga Police Detective Karl Fields, who arrived on shortly after the shooting.

Bush died from gunshot wounds to the back of his head and his chest, according to Chattanooga police.

Aundre Bush

Fields said Corbin turned himself in the next day, and Bush's mother, Robin Harris, identified him as the man who shot her son.

Harris, who was involved in the fight, was called as a witness Tuesday. She testified that the fight began as she was trying to track down who had taken her daughter's cellphone.

During questioning, defense attorney Martin Levitt requested that she review the video footage leading up to her son's slaying and to identify herself and other individuals in the fracas.

As the video played, she closed her eyes and covered her ears, tears streaming down her face.

"I don't know who they all are. I don't know," she repeated.

Levitt maintained that Corbin drew the gun in self-defense after Bush fired a gun in his direction.

"You have [footage of] my client shooting, but that's all we have here," said Levitt. "This is not the whole picture."

Witness Rachel Lee testified she was ushering her son and daughter to her car when she heard at least six gunshots and saw Bush fire his gun in the direction of Lathe, who was standing behind her.

Both she and her boyfriend, Jeffrey Douglas, testified they saw a girl in a Chevrolet Impala pick up the handgun Bush had been holding after he fell.

Harris said she never saw her son with a gun.

Several court benches were filled with Corbin's relatives and friends, who declined to comment after the proceedings.

At the end of the hearing, Shattuck lamented what he called an increasing trend of teenage girls starting violent fights.

"It's really disturbing that we have another shooting that started with a girl fight," he said. "Somebody needs to talk to their daughters. ... It's a pitiful situation."