August 12, 2019
I’m not sure if I believe her.
He doesn’t look like a killer to me.
A verbal exchange about a dog may have led to a May Battle Creek homicide, a woman testified Tuesday.
“We were walking down the sidewalk and a girl was walking her dog,” Catherine Wells said. “Brent looked back and said ‘woof, woof.’ The girl said, ‘I’ll let this dog go on you.’ Brent said, ‘Do it.'”
Moments later, Wells testified, a man approached Brent King, the two exchanged a few words and the other man fired five shots from a handgun, killing King, 42, of Battle Creek.
Wells testified on the second day of a preliminary examination in Calhoun County District Court for Randale Benjamin, 33, of Springfield. He is charged with homicide, assault with intent to murder and weapons violations in the death of King and the wounding of another man, Jessey Rathbun, 34.
Testimony began in June when District Judge Frank Line heard from police officers who went to the scene at 356 Capital Ave. N.E. at 4:02 a.m. on May 27.
After hearing from Wells, the case was adjourned until later this month after defense attorney Neils Magnusson said he wanted to review an autopsy report received Tuesday and consider if he wanted other prosecution witnesses to attend a lineup to determine if they could identify Benjamin.
Wells told Prosecutor David Gilbert that she and King, Rathbun and two other women were walking on the north side of Capital Avenue towards the scene of an earlier shooting on Poplar Street involving a friend.
She said the woman with the dog was on the south side of the street near a gas station when she and King exchanged words.
Wells said the group crossed the street and continued walking toward Poplar Street but she realized someone had come from the porch of a nearby home and was following them.
She identified the man as Benjamin but said she had never seen him before.
“I looked back and this man got off the porch and this dude was approaching,” she said. “Brent looked back and this dude was approaching and Brent walked up to him and they were face to face.
“He walked up and said a few words and he shot him,” Wells said.