Roughly two days before a man was fatally shot in Frederick last year, a witness said the victim was doing drugs and drinking alongside the person accused of pulling the trigger, testimony revealed in Circuit Court Tuesday.
Police say Frederick resident Jaemari A. Anderson, 19, was shot in the head in the Waterside community of Frederick Sept. 6, 2020. He later died at R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. Jordan B. Hooks, 29, of Frederick has pleaded not guilty to all 11 charges lodged by the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office, including first-degree murder.
On the fifth day of the jury trial, Hooks’ girlfriend, Kayla Scott, described a hangout among friends around Sept. 4, 2020, inside Hooks’ basement bedroom in the 8000 block of Waterview Court in Waterside. Scott testified she, Anderson, Hooks and the two other men charged with murder in the incident were drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana and/or using “molly,” a psychoactive drug also known as ecstasy. Among the group, she said, was Daniel Flythe and Brian Henry. Scott testified she felt like some of the individuals were “using” her boyfriend.
Flythe stands accused of shooting Anderson, which Sgt. Curtis Pierce (retired) of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office testified to Tuesday. Flythe, 27, awaits trial for first-degree murder, among other charges. Henry, 28, was also charged with first-degree murder but pleaded guilty through an agreement last month to being an accessory to murder after the fact for helping dispose of a firearm.
Sgt. Kevin Britt, of the sheriff’s office, testified to his evidence collection and investigation into Henry’s GPS monitoring device that placed him running from the crime scene area around the estimated time of the shooting. Henry is expected to testify in the Hooks trial.
Police allege Hooks and Anderson were close friends hanging out with others at Hooks’ residence the day of the shooting. A conflict reportedly occurred within the group, leading Hooks and Anderson to agree to a fight outside.
Scott testified she’d been spending most nights at Hooks’ residence for about two months leading up to Sept. 6, 2020, and came to know Anderson. Scott testified Anderson lived nearby and would frequently walk or ride his bicycle to Hooks’ home.
Pierce testified Hooks said in an interview the day after the shooting — before Hooks was a suspect — that Anderson “was like a brother to him.” During defense attorney Kevin Watkins’ questioning of Pierce, counsel honed in on police arresting Hooks Sept. 11, 2020, months before Henry was arrested in December 2020 and Flythe in May 2021. Watkins also needled Pierce about his decision not to record an interview between Hooks, Pierce and another officer the day after the shooting.
Among other testimony, Deputy First Class Richard Matthews detailed his response to Waterside on Sept. 6, 2020, where he found Anderson on the ground bleeding from the head. Matthews, who is an evidence technician, also had a role in swabbing a suspect’s vehicle for DNA, though he said he did not know which suspect the vehicle belonged to.
The questioning of witnesses Tuesday was punctuated by objections from both the prosecution and defense. At one point, Judge Julia A. Martz-Fisher told Watkins to stop arguing with Pierce while he was on the witness stand. Watkins’ occasional commentary, tacked on to some of the queries he posed throughout the day, often elicited objections. And when Pierce said he could not hear Watkins, the attorney fired back with, “He can hear,” leading the judge to call the attorneys to her bench. Watkins did, at times, speak in a quiet tone, and the jury indicated they struggled to hear him.
The testimony of Scott, the girlfriend, is expected to continue Wednesday.
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated this was the fourth day of the trial. Tuesday was, in fact, the fifth.