A Waco woman who was jailed Tuesday night because of her reluctance to testify against her boyfriend proved to be an uncooperative witness Wednesday.
Eaerricka Washington, who told 19th State District Judge Ralph Strother on Tuesday morning that she would not show up to testify against her boyfriend, Gary Lynn Ramsey Jr., spent most of her time on the witness stand Wednesday telling the jury she could not recall the night she fled her May Drive apartment as a hail of gunfire struck her car.
Ramsey, 35, is charged as a habitual offender with deadly conduct and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. Prosecutors say he was high on the synthetic drug K2 and fired at least 20 rounds from a .40-caliber pistol at Washington’s car as she sped away from her Creole Apartments residence.
Washington fled the apartment after Ramsey, who had stripped off his clothes, threw a candle in a glass container and struck her on the left temple, prosecutors said. As Washington drove from the apartment complex, Ramsey’s bullets hit Washington’s car at least seven times, shattering the back window and breaking a window in a home down the street, prosecutors said.
Washington appeared before the jury Wednesday morning with her hands shacked to a waist chain and with a large bandage across her forehead. Deputies reported that Washington, a Walmart employee, banged her head on a desk in a holding area after the judge ordered her detained Tuesday to make sure she would be available to testify Wednesday.
Washington bowed her head in the witness stand and frequently burst into tears as she spoke. Strother admonished her on several occasions to speak clearly and loudly enough for the jury to hear her. She said she and Ramsey are still together, and when it became obvious she was not answering prosecutor Kristin Kaye’s questions, the judge sent the jury out and admon- ished Washington again.
“It is apparent to the court and I think everyone in the courtroom that you do not want to be here,” Strother said. “But you have taken an oath to tell the truth and I think it is quite clear that you aren’t doing that.”
Washington testified that she could not remember anything leading up to her fleeing the apartment. She said she remembers driving away with bullets pelting her car but said she does not remember her car breaking down or walking to her grandmother’s home on Herring Avenue.
“The only thing I remember is walking from my car and asking people to use their phone,” she said.
After Washington’s testimony, the judge released her from the subpoena and freed her from custody.
In other testimony, Erik Billingsley, who was living in an apartment next to Washington and Ramsey at the time, told jurors he heard a disturbance next door and walked over to see if he could help.
“I walked over and saw the girl outside and she said he was trippin’,” Billingsley said. “We walked in and he was buck naked and foaming at the mouth. We tried to put him in the shower, but he was swinging his arms like he was fighting demons or something like that.”
Billingsley said he left, telling Washington that with all the noise, police would be on their way soon. When he got back to his apartment, a dresser drawer came sailing through his window and then he heard a rapid succession of gunfire. He took off running down the street to escape the gunfire, he said.
Prosecutors played a video of Waco police Detective Todd Rajkowski’s interview with Ramsey after his arrest. Ramsey told the detective a man he had sold drugs to in the past came over to the apartment and tried to rob him. Ramsey said the man made him take off his clothes, adding that it must have been the man who fired all the shots at Washington’s car.
If convicted as a habitual criminal, Ramsey, who has two prior felony convictions for aggravated assault and one for credit care abuse, faces a minimum of 25 years in prison and up to life on each count.
After the lunch break and before the jury returned to court, a tearful Ramsey pleaded with prosecutor Tiffany Clark for a better plea offer, saying he did not want to put any more of his loved ones through the rigors of a trial. Clark held firm at 40 years, while Ramsey said he would plead guilty for a 30- or 35-year deal.
Prosecution testimony resumes Thursday morning.