Updated at 7:23 p.m. on Wednesday, July 11, 2018.
A Chattanooga man committed double homicide in 2016 because he felt disrespected during an evening of partying, prosecutors argued Wednesday. But getting some eyewitnesses to say that on Stephen Mobley's opening day of trial proved more challenging.
Mobley is accused of fatally shooting Jasmine Hines, 22, and Rashaud Taylor, 23, and injuring Zirrshaddia Scott, after an argument broke out about cleaning vomit during a night of partying at a home on Pinewood Drive on Sept. 5, 2016. Mobley was one of a handful of people gathered at the home for a Labor Day weekend cookout-turned-party that involved marijuana, alcohol and Xanax.
He has pleaded not guilty to his charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault and employing a firearm during a dangerous felony.
Using eyewitnesses, prosecutors say Mobley displayed a gun that night and was one of the last people inside before nearly 10 rounds went off. After the shooting, one person who also lived on Pinewood Drive and left the party earlier initially told authorities he saw Mobley outside on the street.
But that witness, Jeremy Cotton, said he couldn't recall it Wednesday.
"Did you see Mr. Mobley?" Assistant District Attorney Kevin Brown asked him.
"Personally, I did not see him," Cotton said. "I seen a figure in the street."
Brown then read from a statement Cotton gave to a Chattanooga police investigator in 2016: "Not even two minutes later, officer, I saw 'Dolla' — Stephen — so I know I saw him."
Cotton added that he couldn't recall telling police that Mobley seemed "too aggressive" and said he wasn't sure whether Mobley was in the house when he left around 4:30 in the morning. Another witness, David Reed, Mobley's cousin, suggested to police that Mobley was upset because he hadn't gotten any romantic attention from the female partiers, according to court testimony.
Scott, who survived the shooting, testified she'd met Mobley for the first time the day before and only had a few interactions with him at the party. She said he wanted some Xanax at one point, but that she didn't share it. Later, when the party moved to the Chattanooga Billiard Club, Scott said she told him their pool table was full.
As the party returned to the Pinewood Drive location and went into the early morning hours of Sept. 5, Scott said she had a warm beer that made her throw up in the bathroom sink. According to other court testimony, that enraged Mobley. He wanted to kick out people who were planning to stay the night and an argument ensued.
Scott said she couldn't remember what happened next because she blacked out. But when she came to, she realized she'd been shot and Hines and Taylor were bloody and unmoving. She called 911.
Reed, who was then living at the home with Mobley, said he left the home when Mobley ordered everybody out. As he walked toward Cotton's house, Reed said he could hear gunshots and had a bad feeling something happened. But Reed said he fell asleep inside at Cotton's home and didn't wake up until his father called to tell him there'd been a shooting.
Mobley's defense can't put on proof until prosecutors finish presenting their case, but so far, they've tried to point out inconsistencies in witness memories. They've also argued that Hines may have died because she spoke to police about her father's unsolved homicide from March 2016 — roughly six months before her own.
Mobley's trial continues Thursday in Hamilton County Criminal Court before Judge Barry Steelman.
Contact staff writer Zack Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6347. Follow him on Twitter @zackpeterson918.