Roberts Takes Stand in Own Murder Trial - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

10/18/03

Roberts Takes Stand in Own Murder Trial

The man accused of shooting and killing two Beaufort County Sheriff's deputies has taken the stand in his own murder trial. Tyree Roberts is charged with killing Lance Corporal Dana Tate and Corporal A.J. Coursen on January 8, 2002.

While on the stand, Roberts continued arguing that the Beaufort County Sheriff's Department planted evidence on him to frame him for the murders of Deputies Tate and Coursen. In his testimony, Roberts told his story to the jury about what happened at 21 Riley Road on that tragic day in January of 2002.

He testified he was in the restroom when the officers arrived at the home. "The officer was standing right here," he said, "and he had his gun and he had it pointed at my face and I said my name is Abdiyyah ben Alkebulanyahh and then the officer stated to me, he said, you look like a Taliban."

Roberts said that's when the shots began in the bedroom. He also testified that Bobby Rigby, the man Roberts has tried to pin the murders on, was also in the room at the time of the shootings. "I was only in there when the shootings started," he continued, "and Mr. Tate shot Mr. Coursen in the back of his head because he spun and fell over."

Roberts says after he was shot, he ran out of the home. He insists he never had a gun with him, despite what countless witnesses say and DNA evidence that links Roberts to the murder weapon and the magazine inside it. "I have never put my hands on either one of them guns. Mr. Blake was carrying that gun and if my hand were to have touched that gun, it would have been when he was helping me," he said, "but I did not put my hands on that gun."

Arguments are scheduled to begin early Sunday morning. A verdict could come down shortly after that.

Watch THE News on WTOC and visit wtoc.com for the latest on Roberts' trial.

Reported by Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

 

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