The second of two defendants charged with possession of unlicensed firearms told the court on Wednesday he denied putting guns under the “flip-flop” or “shoe” tree in South Sound, where two handguns were found shortly after midnight on June 25, 2017.
However, he admitted going to the area to hide ganja.
Rico Roy Walton began giving evidence after co-defendant Gerald Jaleel Bush completed his testimony on Tuesday afternoon. Both men have pleaded not guilty to the charge, telling the court that they were in a boat in South Sound because they had gone out fishing, but came back because they forgot their bait.
In his interview, read to the jury last week, Mr. Walton denied leaving the boat in the vicinity of the shoe tree, saying he had dropped Mr. Bush near Old Crewe Road so he could walk to the gas station to get bait. Then, he said, he went back to the South Sound dock to see if bait was in their truck. He denied stopping at the shoe tree or leaving the boat until he got to the dock.
The shoe tree, which Mr. Walton referred to as the “slipper” tree, is between the two locations. Jurors and Justice Francis Belle visited the area last week with the defendants and attorneys.
On Wednesday, Mr. Walton told the court that, on the night in question, he did get out of the boat in the area of the trees that he had told police he did not go to. He said he went there to secure the ganja he had with him on the boat so he could pick it up later. He said at no time did he go near the shoe tree, but put the ganja near another tree closer to the dock.
Mr. Walton said he did this because he and Mr. Bush had seen the police helicopter hovering overhead. He explained that he had a conviction for ganja years ago but had stayed out of trouble ever since.
He said he did not know why police did not find his ganja, since he had put two rocks around it and they were supposed to have secured the scene.
Asked why he did not simply throw the ganja overboard, he said it was good quality. Asked why he did not head back out to sea when he became concerned about the helicopter, he said he had no reason to run away: “I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Mr. Walton was scheduled to continue his evidence after the lunch adjournment.