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Wilson: Gun was only fired in air

CHESTER -- Shawn Dewayne Wilson and several friends headed out to a Great Falls bar and grill four years ago in search of good time, witnesses testified Monday during Wilson's murder trial.

"Everybody was laughing," said Anthony Banks, who rode to The Talk of the Town bar and grill with Wilson. "Dancing. Just shooting the bull."

The testimony came during day four of Wilson's trial in the shooting death of Charlie Ray "Juicy" Brown Jr. at The Talk of the Town bar and grill on June 28, 2003.

Early Monday, witnesses testified they heard shots fired from multiple directions during the incident. On the stand after lunch, Wilson claimed he shot in the air only to quiet the crowd in the parking lot and that he did not shoot Brown or into a nearby home.

Wilson, 28, testified he ate, drank a Bud Lite, played darts, shot pool and danced. But the mood changed when Shane McMurray left the bar and grill and returned minutes later, he said.

"He said he was about to get jumped on," Wilson testified. "Everybody ran out of the bar. I just sat there. I know he overreacts sometimes."

When he left, Wilson said he heard shots.

"There was a fight in progress, a big fight," he said. "It had gotten way out of control."

Then, Wilson made his way to his pickup truck and fired his semi-automatic Browning multiple times, he testified.

Police say Wilson shot Brown in the stomach, sparking more fighting. Brown died at Chester Regional Medical Center.

Also wounded in the incident was Lawrence Thigpen of Great Falls, who was hit in the chest with a bullet after he opened his front door, according to court testimony.

Officials charged Wilson with murder, assault and battery with intent to kill and possession of a weapon during a violent crime, according to warrants.

On Monday, Wilson testified he never fired his weapon across the street or into Thigpen's home.

"I never pointed it (the weapon) anywhere," Wilson said. "I was pointing it in the air the whole time."

Before the shooting, Wilson testified that as he walked toward his black Chevy pickup truck, he looked back.

"I could see multiple flashes," he said. "Looked like it was coming from the middle of the road."

Wilson's truck was blocked by another vehicle, he said.

"I reached in and grabbed my weapon from the console," he said about the weapon that had two clips each with 15 rounds. "One clip was already in there."

Then, he fired.

"I raised the gun in the air, and I fired the whole clip," Wilson testified. "I was trying to stop what was going on."

Wilson fired 16 rounds, including the bullet in the chamber, he said. "The first firing didn't even get their attention."

"Did you continue to hear shots?" Wilson's attorney, Jack Swerling asked.

"Yes sir," Wilson said.

Wilson unloaded the clip, inserted a second clip, and put his hand up in the air to shoot when someone hit him in the head.

"I fell forward and lost possession of my weapon," he said. "It slid out in front of me a little bit."

Wilson said he fought with the man who hit him. Later, Wilson looked for his gun but couldn't find it, he said.

Three of about seven witnesses suggested multiple guns were fired.

Stacey McMurray testified she heard shots that appeared to originate from different areas. Her husband, Billy, added, "There were shots coming across the road, and also, you could see shots coming from Shooters."

Closing arguments are expected to be heard when court resumes at 9 a.m. today.

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