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Stephen Lester enters Judge Tom Greenholtz's courtroom on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, in Hamilton County Criminal Court in Chattanooga. Lester is facing multiple charges in the January 2013 shooting death of Edward Glenn, Jr.

After the gunshots, Carmisha Lay turned on the lights, put on a dress, and looked once more at Edward Glenn Jr., seizing on the floor and foaming at the mouth. She was drunk, high and terrified.

And then, early in the morning of Jan. 10, 2013, she ran across the road to her grandmother's house, away from her place at 2500 O'Rear St.

Lay, 27, testified before jurors Thursday in Hamilton County Criminal Court in the murder trial of Stephen Lester. Although she appeared Wednesday during an evidence hearing, the jury was not present.

Prosecutors say Lay and Lester, both gang members in the Athens Park Bloods, arranged the fatal robbery of Glenn, a 28-year-old father of five.

During opening arguments Tuesday, prosecutors said Lester, 27, told Lay and a friend to go "dance" for Glenn and his friends in January 2013, with the goal of robbing them.

Lester is being tried on charges of first-degree murder, felony murder, especially aggravated robbery and conspiracy to commit especially aggravated robbery. He chose not to testify Thursday.

Lay, who faced similar charges, entered a plea agreement earlier this week, promising to testify against Lester. She accepted a 15-year prison sentence.

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Carmisha Lay testifies before the jury is seated in the opening day of a murder trial for Stephen Lester on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, in Judge Tom Greenholtz's courtroom in Hamilton County Criminal Court in Chattanooga, Tenn. Lester is facing charges in the January 2013 shooting death of Edward Glenn, Jr.
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Edward Lebron Glenn, Jr.

Although the dance never happened, Lay said she and Glenn had been friends since she was 16. As former boyfriend and girlfriend, they sometimes took ecstasy and had casual sex. Lay knew Glenn had lots of money on him from drug dealing, and she said she told Lester he would be an easy target.

Between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. that morning, Lay texted Lester to say Glenn was inside her house, where they had taken drugs and gone to bed together. Prosecutors say Lester recruited Eric McReynolds, another Athens Park Bloods member known as "Donkey," and drove to Lay's home.

Aside from a television's glow, her bedroom was dark, Lay said, and she couldn't see the faces of the two armed men who came in wearing bandannas. But she knew it was Lester and McReynolds, she said, because she was expecting them.

Lester grabbed Lay by the neck and dragged her into the corner while McReynolds pistol-whipped Glenn in the head and face, she said. Glenn cooperated when the men asked for his money, stashed in his pants on the floor.

Then, Lay said, Lester commanded McReynolds to shoot Glenn.

Lester's attorney, Dan Ripper, called no witnesses, instead working to poke holes in the prosecution witnesses' testimony.

He challenged Lay's testimony during cross-examination, pointing out the many stories she told police about that night. He also emphasized that Lay and Lester worked together because of their relationship — not their gang affiliation.

After prosecutors finished presenting their case around 4 p.m., Ripper asked Judge Tom Greenholtz to accept a motion for judgment of acquittal, claiming the state never corroborated Lay's testimony.

After listening to Executive Assistant District Attorney Lance Pope, Greenholtz said the state did indeed corroborate her testimony through Facebook messages and a series of texts exchanged between two cellphone numbers associated with Lay and Lester.

Closing arguments begin this morning in Greenholtz's courtroom at 10:30. After that, the jury will deliberate.

Contact staff writer Zack Peterson at zpeterson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6347 with story ideas or tips. Follow @zackpeterson918.

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