Raleigh County Circuit Court jurors heard on Thursday that an 18-year-old woman who was held hostage for several hours and later shot in the head at a Harper Road hotel in 2018 helped the accused in locating the gun, moments before he turned it over. on her.
Davide Hudson is on trial for the kidnapping and first degree murder of Amber Meadows, who had attended Independence High School.
On Thursday, Raleigh Assistant District Attorney Brian Parsons and defense attorney Robert Dunlap both made opening arguments, and Parsons presented a number of pieces of evidence.
Parson’s witness, Jonathan Bird of Prosperity, said he moved into Maplewood Apartments in Prosperity with his girlfriend, who had just given birth to his baby in July 2018. Bird said he was not working at the time but that he was self-employed as a music producer. At the apartment complex, he met Tyrique Pearl, a rap musician. According to Bird, the two formed a social bond due to their mutual interest in music.
Bird said Pearl introduced Bird to Hudson, the defendant.
“I bought her heroin,” Bird told jurors.
Through Pearl, he also met Antonio Williams. He testified that he “didn’t have much of a relationship” with Hudson or Williams and that as of July 8, 2018, he had only known Hudson for about two weeks. In total, he said, the four men had hung out together three or four times.
“We drank together, smoked marijuana, things like that,” he explained. “Never promising activities.”
Around 6 p.m. that night, he said, he was driving his parents’ car to Taco Bell to get food for his parents. Hudson, Williams and Pearl “dated” him, he testified.
“Mr. Hudson had to go buy ammunition at (Beckley) Walmart, so I dropped him off at Walmart while I went to Taco Bell for my parents,” he said. “He had just gotten a new gun, and he didn’t have ammunition for it, so he had to go buy some ammunition.”
Bird said Hudson’s gun was an old silver .38 special revolver.
Later that evening, the four men left the apartment in a Cherokee that belonged to Bird’s girlfriend, who had just had a baby. Bird was driving.
Bird testified that he, Pearl and another man entered a house in Eccles and stole drugs and “$10 or $20 for gas” at gunpoint. Once they separated from the man, his mother and his girlfriend, the four went to the Little General in Crab Orchard near Arby’s home.
Bird said that’s when Hudson saw the victim pull into the parking lot with his vehicle. Her friends Arileah Lacy and Destiny Conkle were in the car with her.
Bird testified that two weeks earlier there had been a dispute. Hudson told Bird he had seven grams of heroin stolen from him while he was in a car with the three women and a man named Antoine Brown, Bird said.
Meadows would be dating Brown, Bird said.
It’s a coincidence that the three women stopped in the parking lot when Hudson was there, according to reports.
“Mr. Hudson had said, ‘They’re going, right there,'” Bird said. “I didn’t know what he was talking about at the time.”
Bird said he walked out of the store to find Hudson, Williams and Pearl talking with Meadows, Conkle and Lacy about where they would like to go to socialize and use drugs.
The girls didn’t feel comfortable going to Williams’ and the band decided to check into a motel on Harper Road.
Bird said the four men and three women had been in the parking lot for at least an hour.
Nothing overtly dangerous was mentioned, and the interaction was “friendly,” Bird said.
“We were three men with guns, and that was very clear to the women at the gas station,” he added.
Pearl, who apparently knew Lacy, rode with the women. The other three men rode the Cherokee to the Travel Lodge, where Bird gave his credit card for check-in. Hudson logged in using an ID that did not have Hudson’s picture on it.
Bird said he and Pearl planned to go home, but Bird approached the hotel room to warn the group not to damage the room.
“(My baby’s mom) called me nonstop all night,” he said. “She wanted me to come home. We had a newborn.
Bird said he, Williams and Hudson were the last three to enter the hotel room.
Once inside, Bird said, Hudson suddenly pulled out a gun and said, “No one will leave until I say so.”
Bird said Hudson launched an apparent campaign to terrorize the three women, who were crammed into one of the beds. He ordered the other members of the group to block the two doors with chairs.
He made the women and three other men put their cell phones in an ice bucket, Bird said. He eventually got Bird to give up his gun, according to Bird. Bird speculated that it was because he was the only white person in the group, other than the victims.
According to Bird, Hudson was intoxicated. He loaded his gun and started pointing it at the women. He then cocked the gun and acted like he was going to pull the trigger, but he slowly released the hammer so it wouldn’t fire.
“I couldn’t put an exact number on that,” Bird said, when asked how many times Hudson had threatened women. “It was constant, from the moment we entered the room.
“(The girls) were huddled on the bed trying to protect each other.”
At one point, Bird said, Hudson pulled out all but one of the balls and continued a macabre game of Russian roulette with the whole group, reminding them that any of them, including Hudson, could die.
“He started pointing the laser at everyone in the room, including me, saying, ‘You could die, you could die, you could die.
“He even pointed it at himself and said he could die.
“It was a scare tactic, that’s what it was.”
Bird said Meadows seemed particularly scared of Hudson.
“At first each of the (victims) was terrified,” Bird said. “Mrs. Meadows, I remember she was crying.
Conkle eventually grew braver and put her body in front of the gun when it was pointed at Lacy, who was her girlfriend.
“Ms. Lacy… she didn’t seem too intimidated,” Bird said. “But Ms. Meadows was scared for her life for most of the night.”
Around 3 a.m., Bird went to McDonald’s to get food for the men.
At one point, he said, Hudson took a rubber mallet and destroyed items in the hotel room, including a doorknob, despite Bird’s earlier warning not to damage the door. bedroom.
Williams went with him under Hudson’s orders, he testified. Neither man informed police of the hostage situation inside the hotel room, he said.
None of the gunmen intervened or offered help to the victims, Bird testified.
He said that at some point during the night, Meadows seemed “just to become desensitized to the fact that his life was in danger”.
Bird testified that Hudson said Lacy could leave to go to his Hooter’s job the next day, but Meadows had to stay.
Neither Lacy nor Conkle would leave without Meadows, Bird testified.
About half an hour before Meadows was shot, he said, Hudson told the group he was going to stop using his gun to intimidate them.
The group began “sharing a joint” of marijuana, and Hudson told Bird, “Hey, you ready to go. Your little mama is calling you.
Bird said he stayed to finish smoking pot and a cigarette. He and Pearl planned to leave.
Lacy and Conkle were in a bathroom, and Meadows and the men were in the suite bedroom.
“I was about to walk out the door and Mr. Hudson began to frantically search for his gun,” Bird said.
Bird said Meadows went into the bathroom and pointed at the gun, which was behind the toilet.
“She said, ‘It’s over there. You left it there,” Bird said.
He said Hudson walked into the bathroom and took the gun, then opened it and looked at it. He said to Meadows, “You could have had me.”
Bird said he told Hudson, “No, she couldn’t have. There is nothing in it.
“At this point I had forgotten he still had a bullet in there,” Bird added. “(Hudson) looked at the gun, closed the gun and put it to Mrs. Meadows’ head and said, ‘No, it’s not. No it is not. No, it’s not,” then I pulled the trigger.
“The weapon exploded at that moment.”
Pearl and Bird left the room, Bird fearing for his life, he said. Eventually Williams followed and the three drove off in Bird’s girlfriend’s vehicle. Only Hudson remained in the room, he said.
Bird did not call 911 and said he did not believe anyone else called 911.
He said he made a full confession to Beckley Police Department officers on July 10, 2018.
Bird and Pearl both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit kidnapping and murder earlier this year and agreed to testify against Hudson as part of their plea deals.
Williams pleaded guilty to kidnapping and intentional homicide on October 21, 2020 and agreed to testify against Hudson.
Two police officers gave brief testimony to the discovery of the deceased victim and the collection of evidence at the crime scene. When questioned by Dunlap, one of the officers appeared to contradict a written police investigation report regarding a towel in one of the hotel bathrooms.
Dunlap objected to a number of questions and statements during Bird’s testimony, while Parsons objected while Dunlap questioned an officer.
Raleigh Circuit Court Judge HL Kirkpatrick supported most of the objections.
Parsons tendered a number of items into evidence, including a towel, a sweatshirt, beer cans and crime scene photos. None of the photos presented to jurors on Thursday depicted the victim.