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Julian Pasley

Julian Pasley, out of prison for only 47 days, told police he didn't mean to kill Malik Blackstock.

Police say Pasley, 19, told a witness that the April 7 fatal shooting of the 18-year-old Blackstock was an accident. Pasley, who is already facing Criminal Court charges for aggravated robbery and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, was charged with criminal homicide.

At a Thursday hearing in Hamilton County General Sessions Court, witnesses said Pasley was "playing" with a gun the night Blackstock was shot. But Assistant District Attorney Lance Pope said the killing was intentional, and may even have been motivated by gang rivalry.

One witness, a woman who said she'd known both Pasley and Blackstock for several years, said she and the two men had been smoking marijuana at another woman's house the night of the shooting.

She said that at one point she walked into a bedroom to find Pasley "playing" with a revolver.

She said she told Pasley, "Hell, no, we don't play with guns."

In fact, everyone in the house was encouraging him to put down the weapon, she said. Even Blackstock.

"[Blackstock] said 'get that gun out of my face,'" the woman said.

She said Pasley kept pointing the gun at Blackstock and called him several explicit names. Blackstock asked him again to lower the weapon, and then Pasley fired.

The bullet struck Blackstock in the shoulder. He told the woman that it hurt, and that he didn't want to die, but that's what happened later at the hospital.

Pasley's attorney, Garth Best, asked her if she thought the shooting was an accident.

"I really just don't understand how you could accidentally shoot somebody," she said.

Another woman who was present that night told the same story. After the shooting, Pasley "looked shocked," she said. He ran from the house.

Detective Lucas Fuller testified that informants told him that Pasley and Blackstock were both members of the Rollin 40s Crips, but Blackstock was trying to leave to join the rival Gangster Disciples.

Fuller also said that in initial interviews, the first witness said she hadn't seen the shooting. On Thursday morning, she told him she wanted to come to court and tell the truth, and so she testified she saw Pasley shoot Blackstock, Fuller said.

Best argued that Pasley shouldn't be charged with murder, and that the witnesses' testimony seemed to show the killing was an accident. He said the charges should amount to "reckless homicide at best."

But Pope disagreed. He pointed to testimony from the first witness, who said Pasley pointed the gun at Blackstock for minutes after he was encouraged to put it down.

"That's an intentional act," Pope said. "That's not a reckless act."

Judge Gary Starnes acknowledged both questions surrounding whether the killing was accidental and the fact that the first witness changed her testimony between her initial police interview and the Thursday hearing. But he said continuing to hold the gun was an intentional act. He called Pasley a danger to the community and raised his bond to $1 million.

Pasley's murder charge was bound over to a grand jury.

Contact staff writer Claire Wiseman at cwiseman@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6347. Follow her on Twitter @clairelwiseman.

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