Jury hears from accused killer#039;s friends

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 2, 2005

The defense and prosecution locked horns on Thursday over two witnesses for the state, longtime friends of accused killer Westley Devon Harris, the Crenshaw County man accused of murdering six people in August, 2002.

Greg Daniels and A.J. Robinson testified that Harris delivered guns to them in the days following the murder of six members of Janice Ball's family, Harris' then-girlfriend.

Daniels testified that Harris gave him three rifles, firearms allegedly stolen by the defendant from the Ball family compound after the murders. He said he later hid the rifles in the woods near his home before turning them over to the agents of the Alabama Bureau of Investigation.

He also stated that Harris told him he had killed the Ball family.

"He said he offed them," Daniels said.

Harris's defense attorney Charlotte Tesmer questioned the credibility of Daniels as a witness, saying that he had given numerous statements to law enforcement about his relationship with Harris in the days following the murders. She also said Daniels had only come forward once it was brought to light that he could be charged with a felony and questioned the validity of his testimony, which she alluded may have been coerced from him by the ABI under threat of prosecution.

"Mr. Daniels, have you told so many stories that you don't know the truth?" She asked Daniels.

Daniels responded that his testimony on Thursday was the truth.

Robinson, a cousin to the defendant, said Harris drove to his home in Luverne and gave him two handguns, but he was unaware at the time that the Ball family had been murdered. He said Ball and her 1-year-old child was also in the car, a red Pontiac Grand Am, with Harris. Robinson also stated he couldn't remember any words he and Harris had shared, even when lead prosecutor Don Valeska read aloud a statement given by Robinson to ABI Agent Barry Tucker in which he said Harris had told him, 'this may be the last time you see me.'

Tucker confirmed Robinson's statement during testimony later in the day.

Robinson said three days after receiving the firearms he threw them into the woods by Thomas Ave. in Luverne. When questioned by Tucker and the ABI, Robinson said he alerted them to the location of the two handguns. A search by the ABI, Luverne Police Department, Luverne Fire Department and Crenshaw County Sheriff's Department later recovered the firearms.

Under cross-examination Tesmer asked Robinson if Ball acted any differently when her and Harris stopped by his home that day, noting that Robinson's home was a 'stone's throw' from the Luverne Police Department.

"She acted normal," said Robinson. "She stayed in the car."

"Did she ask for your help?" Asked Tesmer.

"No," said Robinson.

The state also introduced forensic evidence, including DNA samples from the victims and from the defendant.

Testimony in the capital murder trial continues today.