By Rosemary K. Otzman
Billy Ray Patrick, II, 22, of Belleville has been bound over to circuit court at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit for arraignment on the information at 9 a.m. June 18.
He remains in custody at the Wayne County Jail on $500,000/10% bond.
Patrick is charged with shooting his friend, Thomas Strunk, 16, in the face with a .22 caliber pistol on May 12 as Strunk stood in his driveway in the 200 block of West Columbia Avenue eating pizza.
The charges are:
• Assault with intent to murder;
• Assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder;
• Assault with a dangerous weapon – felonious assault; and
• Weapons – felony firearm.
The victim was the first witness at Patrick’s preliminary exam before Chief Judge Tina Brooks Green at 34th District Court in Romulus on June 11.
As Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Ryan Lukiewski questioned him, Strunk identified Patrick as the person who shot him in the cheek and said he and Patrick had been friends for about six years.
He said he and his friend Amira were walking home from the store when Patrick came to his house and asked, “What happened to my weed?”
“I didn’t see the gun,” Strunk testified. “I heard a pop, looked down and saw blood coming from my face.” He said his friend Amira was about five feet away but no one else was around. He started running toward his house, he said.
He testified the cops came and he was taken to the hospital for medical treatment and spent three days in the hospital.
He pointed to a scar on his left cheek where he said he got stitches. He said the bullet is still in his head under the right ear. He lost some teeth.
Patrick’s defense attorney Michael Vincent pushed him to say other than all that there were no long-term effects.
Vincent cross-examined Strunk, telling the story and having Strunk agreeing. Vincent said Strunk is 16 and he and Patrick were good friends and saw each other every day. The night before the shooting he and Amira stayed overnight at Patrick’s drinking and smoking weed at a party.
Strunk testified he got up at 11 a.m. that day and walked home, which was a couple of blocks away.
“You and Amira walked around town and went to the library,” Vincent prompted and Strunk agreed he met Amira later.
Strunk said Billy works at the Lunch Box and they were waiting for him to get done with work.
“You were by your house and he wanted to know where some of his weed was?” Vincent asked and Strunk said that was true.
“Were you surprised your friend shot you? Think it might be an accident?” Vincent asked.
“If he hadn’t been on pills that day, he wouldn’t have done it,” Strunk said.
Vincent pressed Strunk, asking if he ever said it might have been an accident.
Strunk repeated that he thinks Patrick wouldn’t have done it if he hadn’t been on pills.
“I never saw the gun,” Strunk testified.
“Did you touch him?” Vincent asked and Strunk said he didn’t. “I was pretty scared.”
He said his friend Amira was 15-20 feet away and he was eating pizza and had one pop in his hand and one in his pocket for Amir.
Strunk testified that Patrick left the area.
Vincent asked about Patrick’s voice when he asked about the weed and the attorney spoke softly, asking if that’s how Patrick spoke.
Strunk said Patrick spoke quieter than Vincent did when he asked, but, “I didn’t have it.”
Vincent got Strunk to say Patrick’s tone wasn’t hostile and it was the “same friendly tone as usual.”
Strunk testified that between the hours of noon and 5:30 p.m. that day he met Amira at the library and then smoked marijuana in a place with a friend, sharing a bowl, and getting a fairly decent buzz.
“Mellows you out for a while,” Vincent prompted. Strunk agreed and testified he took no pills that day.
When asked to identify who he smoked with that afternoon, Strunk refused to say, adding, “It don’t have nothing to do with it.”
Judge Green ruled that Strunk will give the name to the prosecutor in private.
Prosecutor Lukiewski questioned Strunk again and Strunk testified that he was sober when he left Patrick’s home at 11 a.m. and smoked around 1:45 p.m. Strunk said he was a regular marijuana user and it’s not unusual for him to smoke marijuana throughout the day. He said its use doesn’t affect his ability to recognize people and see what’s going on.
Vincent asked if Strunk ever talked to Patrick’s mom and Strunk replied, “I told her he never would have done it if he wasn’t on pills.”
The second witness called to the stand was Amira Parks, 17, who said that day Patrick was calling her and texting her over the missing 6 grams of weed. She said she and Strunk were at Frosty Boy.
She said she saw Patrick coming to Strunk’s driveway and, “Billy didn’t look happy.” She testified he asked where his weed was.
“I didn’t see the gun,” Parks said. “But I saw it happen. There was smoke and Tommy’s blood gushing out. He [Patrick] had his hand up to Tommy’s face and I heard a gun. No one else was in that area.”
Parks said after Patrick shot Strunk, she saw him “take off.”
“I went to the park and sat with my friend… I didn’t know what to do. I was scared,” Parks testified.
She said she spoke to Patrick.
“He told me it was an accident. He didn’t mean to do it. Of course, I’m not going to believe that,” Parks testified.
Vincent cross-examined Parks, with Vincent stating she was friends with Patrick for five years and with Strunk for eight years. Parks agreed.
Vincent stated Tommy and Billy were friends, good friends, and Parks agreed.
“I was Billy’s girlfriend for 2-3 months,” she testified. Before that, she was Patrick’s girlfriend.
She said Patrick told her he thought the gun was unloaded and said that four to five times, calling it an accident.
Vincent asked if Parks talked to Patrick’s mother and Parks said she did the next day.
“I said he was high on pills and stuff and I didn’t think he’d have done it otherwise. I didn’t use the term accident,” she testified.
Vincent asked if the police asked her to call Patrick and she said they did and then
Cpl. Todd Schrecengost talked to Patrick.
Parks said she stayed the night before the shooting at Patrick’s house and Patrick was on pills. Vincent asked if it was speed, he described as “cheap cocaine,” and she said he was on prescription-type pills.
She said that night they smoked marijuana and drank whiskey, a pint for 2-3 people. She said she smoked marijuana and drank two shots.
She said in the morning, Strunk went home and later she met him at the library. There was no more marijuana for her, she said.
Vincent had her describe the shooting again and asked her if she knew what a “rim-shot bullet” was. She didn’t. He didn’t elaborate.
Prosecutor Lukiewicz clarified that Parks said she saw Billy’s hand near Tommy’s face and Vincent objected, saying she hadn’t said that before. Lukiewicz disagreed, saying Parks already testified, “I saw the hand by Thomas’ face, heard the pop, and saw the powder.”
Lukiewicz made a motion to bind Patrick over to circuit court, whether the gun was seen or not.
Vincent said the charges weren’t correct and it sounded like an impulsive act.
Lukiewicz said he shoots him in the face and the bullet is still there. To shoot in the face, murder is the intent.
Vincent said there must be deliberation and Judge Green said deliberation can be a split second.
“This wasn’t an intent to murder,” Vincent insisted. “Why didn’t he shoot him again and again?”
Judge Green said the assault with intent may be an overcharge, but she’ll let them deal with that downtown.
She said the prosecution is right that the totality shows probable cause. She said that Patrick didn’t keep shooting doesn’t detract from the first shot.
She ordered him bound over to circuit court for arraignment on the information and referred him to Pretrial Services for a bond review.
By Rosemary K. Otzman