Defendant in Wallingford shooting testifies at trial in New Haven that the Milford victim shot himself
NEW HAVEN >> Wayne Bradbury, testifying in his own defense in his assault trial Friday, said the young man he is accused of shooting was actually the one carrying a gun and that he shot himself after Bradbury pushed him away.
Following his testimony under questioning by defense attorney Christopher Parker, Bradbury underwent a challenging cross-examination by Senior Assistant State’s Attorney John P. Doyle Jr.
The jurors, who will have to decide whether they believe Bradbury’s account or that of the shooting victim, are expected to begin deliberations Monday afternoon. The victim testified earlier in the trial that Bradbury pointed a gun at him and said, “Give me your money,” then shot him when the victim turned to run away.
Bradbury, 32, of Hamden, is charged with first-degree assault, attempted first-degree robbery, criminal possession of a firearm and carrying a pistol without a permit.
Wallingford police and Doyle have accused Bradbury of shooting the 19-year-old man in the stomach when he attempted to buy marijuana from Bradbury, as they had done repeatedly on previous occasions without incident.
The events in question occurred on the night of May 5, 2016, in a parking lot outside a business on North Colony Road in Wallingford.
Bradbury, who is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail, was brought into the courtroom attired in a black suit, dress shirt, striped tie and white sneakers. Doyle would later remark during his questioning: “Nice tie. This is the first time you’ve worn a tie in court.” Parker objected to this and his objection was sustained by Superior Court Judge Jon C. Blue.
After Bradbury was sworn in, he said he lives in Hamden with his mother and works at Gateway Motors. “We buy and sell cars.”
Bradbury testified that before the night of the shooting, the victim, who police said was then from Milford, had called him at least 10 times within the previous 7 to 8 months to arrange to buy marijuana.
Bradbury said the young man bought “large quantities” of the drug, ranging from three-quarters of a pound to 1.5 pounds. On one occasion, Bradbury added, the man bought marijuana from him twice on the same day, in Newington.
According to Bradbury, the maximum amount of a transaction was three-quarters of a pound, at a cost of $2,100. “I would make $700” of that amount.
Bradbury said the sales occurred sometimes outside commercial establishments and at other times on residential streets. Once they did a deal close to his mother’s house, he said.
When Parker asked if the young man had asked to buy things besides marijuana, Bradbury replied, “He asked me if I knew where he could buy a firearm.”
Bradbury said the man asked him this because he said he had been robbed.
On May 5, 2016, Bradbury testified, the young man called him in order to buy a half-pound of marijuana for a price they agreed upon: $1,400. The victim had testified the price was $1,500.
Bradbury said he charged the meeting location to the parking lot of a package store “because I needed to get liquor before it closed.”
Bradbury said he had to wait for about 30 minutes for the buyer to arrive. “I was drinking while I waited.”
He said he had brought a friend with him to do the driving that night. Bradbury said he didn’t know the friend’s real name.
Bradbury said he was driving when they got to the liquor store and that he parked near the side of the building rather than in front.
Bradbury recalled the young man parked his car at the store and walked around the corner and over to Bradbury’s white BMW. Bradbury said he was outside his car, behind its open door.
He said he told the man he had the marijuana in a shoebox on the floor of his car.
“He asked me to get it,” Bradbury said. “I bent down to get it. As I was getting the shoebox, I could see him make a sudden movement. Then I saw a firearm in his hand. I pushed the firearm and him away from me. Then I heard a shot.”
Bradbury described the gun as “chrome or silver.”
“He pointed it at you?” Parker asked.
“Yes,” Bradbury replied.
He said he was in “survival mode” when he pushed the man away. “I jumped in my vehicle and had my driver speed off. I didn’t know if I was shot.”
When Doyle began his cross-examination, the first question he asked was: “You are a convicted drug dealer?” Bradbury said this was true.
When Doyle asked if he sold “high-grade marijuana,” Bradbury said that was also true.
But when Doyle asked if he has “other customers,” Parker objected, on the grounds it didn’t relate to the pending charges in this case. Blue asked the jurors to leave the courtroom.
Parker then disclosed Bradbury has federal and state drugs charges pending for other cases. Parker and Bradbury agreed, with Blue’s permission, that Bradbury would use his 5th Amendment right not to incriminate himself, answering no questions about sales of drugs to people other than the victim in the current case.
After the jury returned, Doyle asked him: “How much did you sell to those other individuals?” Bradbury refused to answer, invoking his 5th Amendment right.
When Doyle asked Bradbury whether he is “familiar with guns,” Bradbury said, “Somewhat. I’ve never owned a gun.”
Under follow-up questioning, Bradbury said he has held a gun and discharged a gun.
Bradbury acknowledged he had never told police his Friday account of the young man pointing a gun at him.
Doyle asked if he had backed his car into that parking space at the side of the liquor store “for a quick getaway.” Bradbury denied this.
Under Doyle’s questioning, Bradbury repeated his account of the young man producing a gun while Bradbury reached for the shoebox, then Bradbury pushing him and the gun was going off.
“This is your explanation for how that young man got a hole in his stomach?” Doyle asked.
“It’s the truth,” Bradbury said.
Doyle asked if it wasn’t true that Bradbury was “planning to rob him” that night and “you brought a gun with you because you knew he’d be bringing $1,500? And when he ran away, you got (angry) at him and shot him?” Bradbury denied it.
Doyle also asked: The man “is in the driver’s seat to allow you to rob (the young man) and make a quick getaway?” Bradbury replied this was not true.
“You had that car running for a half-hour to make a quick exit?” Doyle asked.
Bradbury said he kept the car running because “It was cold and I was drinking.”
Call Randall Beach at 203-680-9345.