Jurors heard emotional testimony from victims who were shot in a midtown Atlanta parking garage in 2011. (1/29/2013)More >>
ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -
A man on trial accused of murder in a Midtown Atlanta parking garage took the stand in his own defense Wednesday.
Nkosi Thandiwe, 23, admitted to killing Brittany Watts and stealing her car.
When one of the prosecutors asked Thandiwe why he picked Watts, he said he didn't know.
Thandiwe worked as a security guard on June 15, 2011. He had just graduated from the University of West Georgia with a degree in anthropology and a minor in history.
He said that Friday morning his boss said something to him that sent him in a rage. Thandiwe had a gun with him that he bought the previous month.
"That rage almost made me pull it out then. I luckily had time to leave the office, walk around and get some fresh air," said Thandiwe.
In court, prosecutors showed surveillance video of Thandiwe walking through the parking garage on the corner of 14th Street and Crescent Avenue in Midtown Atlanta.
They also showed surveillance video of Watts walking to the parking garage.
Thandiwe said Watts was sitting in her car when he approached her and told her to get out. She jumped out and tried to run away.
"I shot her in the back of the neck and she dropped to the ground," said Thandiwe. "I didn't touch her."
Thandiwe said he stole Watts' car and likely drove over her body while leaving. His rage didn't stop with Watts.
Thandiwe admitted to shooting Tiffany Ferenczy in the calf and shooting and paralyzing Lauren Garcia as they walked across Crescent Avenue.
"It was almost like watching myself in action not being able to control what happened, not being consciously connected to my body," said Thandiwe.
All of Thandiwe's victims are white. He said during his last few years in college, his history studies changed his thoughts about how some white people treated black people.
"In terms of slavery and race, it was something that needed to be answered for. I saw it as something that the black community hasn't recovered from so my initial way to handle that was to spread information to help combat some of the ignorance that was in the black community about our history," said Thandiwe.
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but you were trying to spread the message of making white people the enemy," asked Assistant District Attorney Linda Dunikoski.
"Yes," replied Thandiwe.
Thandiwe told jurors the night before the killed Watts some white people attended a meeting he felt was only for black people. He said part of that anger was with him the day of the shootings.
He said he started driving to Alabama in Watts' car. He made a phone call to someone who told him he needed to come back to Atlanta and turn himself in.
"When she asked you why you did it you said. 'it was just that time,'" said Dunikoski. "What did you mean?"
"My whole mindset was completely warped," Thandiwe said.
"Did you mean it was just about time to bring that violence to white people," asked Dunikoski.
Thandiwe said he didn't know.
The jury was sent home early. They will start deliberations Thursday.
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