04/15/05 — SBI agent says Sloan admitted shooting

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SBI agent says Sloan admitted shooting

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on April 15, 2005 1:50 PM

Dwight Sloan told investigators that he shot Jamaal Pearsall because he believed Pearsall had stolen his car stereo, an agent with the State Bureau of Investigation said Thursday.

But Sloan says he wanted only to shoot at Pearsall, not to hit him.

Pearsall died after being shot in his car on Aug. 24, 2003, on Edgerton Street. Sloan, 23, and Kalonda Kay Wooten, 19, are accused of his murder.

They face life in prison if convicted.

Special Agent Barbara Lewis of the SBI testified Thursday in Wayne Superior Court that Sloan described his involvement in Pearsall's death to law officers about six hours after the shooting.

"I never wanted to kill him," Sloan said, according to Ms. Lewis. "I saw Pearsall crash the car, and I knew he had been shot."

Sloan said in his statement that he asked friends to call Wayne Memorial Hospital to find out Pearsall's condition. When he was told that Pearsall had died, Sloan said he felt "terrible" and wished that he never had a gun.

Ms. Lewis testified that during the interview Sloan appeared remorseful.

Sloan, accompanied by his parents, turned himself into Goldsboro police that night.

Sloan's cousin and co-defendant, Ms. Wooten, was interviewed by Ms. Lewis and Goldsboro police before Sloan. The investigators said she admitted that she had been driving the white Pontiac Bonneville in which Sloan was a passenger when the fatal shot was fired.

They said Ms. Wooten said that she had asked Sloan "Why did you do that?"

"Just drive. Don't worry about it. Keep driving," Sloan had replied, according to investigators.

The shooting stemmed from what investigators called "bad blood," between Ms. Wooten and another woman involved with Pearsall.

According to investigators, Sloan, Ms. Wooten and several others found Pearsall near his home on the day of the shooting. Pearsall jumped in a blue Honda and drove off, and the others followed in the white Pontiac. Witnesses said the cars sped off and turned left onto Taylor Street. The cars then turned left again onto Edgerton. A witness testified that he saw the white car pass the blue car and then saw someone in the white car fire a gun. The white car sped off, and the blue car crashed into a parked black car across from St. Mary's Catholic Church.

An SBI firearms expert testified Thursday that the bullet taken from Pearsall's body came from a handgun that Sloan had admitted that he used. Special Agent Shane Green said a second spent cartridge recovered by authorities also came from the same 25-caliber handgun.

When Sloan was arrested, he took investigators to a storm drain on Higgins Street, where he said he had thrown the gun away, said Goldsboro Police Maj. Jay Memmelaar Jr. Investigators found the weapon where Sloan said it could be found, Memmelaar said.

SBI Special Agent James Gregory, a trace-evidence expert, testified that the Pearsall had small traces of three elements on his hand that are found in gunshot residue. But Gregory said that he did not know whether Pearsall had fired a weapon. Gregory told defense lawyer Geoff Hulse during cross-examination that it was less likely that the three elements would remain on the shooter's hand if he had fired a smaller-caliber weapon or a semi-automatic handgun or if it had been fired from a moving car.

Assistant District Attorney Matt Delbridge said he expected to finish presenting the state's case today.