Derik Maples knew Justin Tyler had armed himself with a 9 mm pistol before they headed to a drug deal in December 2009, a deputy prosecutor told jurors on Monday.
The two were meeting an acquaintance at a Rose Village convenience store to sell 10 grams of powder cocaine. But when the men met up, something went wrong and Tyler fired shots, killing 45-year-old Clement Adams, the prosecutor said.
Even though Maples didn’t pull the trigger, he was an accomplice, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Kasey Vu said. Maples and Tyler were partners in crime and should be treated as such, Vu said.
“You all know the saying, ‘In for a penny, in for a pound,’ ” Vu said. “That’s what this case boils down to.”
Maples, 24, is charged with first-degree murder of Adams and the attempted murder of Tyshaun Foreman, a passenger in Adams’ car. Trial began Monday in Clark County Superior Court Judge John Wulle’s courtroom. A jury of 12 and two alternates were seated in the morning.
Defense attorney David Kurtz said he was reserving his opening statement until after the prosecution rests its case. During a recess, Kurtz was overheard alluding to an attorney that he plans to dispute that Maples was an accomplice.
A struggle, then gunfire
Vu spent a half hour late in the afternoon leading jurors through the shooting at the S&S Mart the night of Dec. 1, 2009. He said Maples arranged a drug deal with Foreman and brought along Tyler as security.
When the two arrived at the convenience store, Foreman and Adams were sitting in a Chrysler in the parking lot. Maples stepped inside the car and attempted to sell the cocaine when he realized the money they offered was counterfeit, Vu said.
“He decides to undo the deal,” Vu told jurors.
Adams and Maples both struggled over the cocaine and it dropped to the floorboard of the car. Meanwhile, Vu said, Tyler approached the rear of the vehicle as “backup and the lookout.”
That’s when Maples jumped out of the car, shouting at Tyler. About four or five shots were fired, one of which struck Adams in the head.
Vu said a witness inside the store will testify there was a pause between the first couple shots and the last shots.
“The state will submit that the element of premeditation was shown in that pause,” Vu said.
Following the shooting, Tyler and Maples fled, Vu said. After changing clothes at a friend’s mother’s house, the two went to Portland. They were captured several days later near Lloyd Center, Vu said.
Subsequent testing of bullets found at the scene showed a match with a pistol dumped in some bushes a few blocks away, the deputy prosecutor said. A store surveillance camera also captured the shooting.
Vu told jurors the case isn’t about whether Maples was there; the defendant confessed to police that he was present. Instead, the case comes down to whether he’s liable as an accomplice for the murder of the Vancouver man.
“The basic facts of the case are not complicated,” Vu said. “This case boils down to: Should someone be held responsible for his agreement and his conduct with another?”
Co-defendant Tyler, 23, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder April 7 and was sentenced to 32 years in prison.
Maples’ trial is expected to last five days.
Laura McVicker: www.twitter.com/col_courts; www.facebook.com/reportermcvicker; firstname.lastname@example.org; 360-735-4516.