Murder trial begins for suspect charged with 2015 shooting death on Savannah’s east side

Murder trial begins for suspect charged with 2015 shooting death on Savannah’s east side

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Four years after a man was shot to death on Savannah’s east side, the man charged with his death is facing a jury.

Opening statements and testimony began Tuesday in the trial for Timone Hooper. Hooper is charged in the death of Lawrence Bryan IV, back in August of 2015.

One of the responding officers took the stand first, along with the man who drove Lawrence Bryan and his friend - who was also shot - to the hospital in a private car the night of the murder.

​The close friend of Lawrence Bryan who was with him at the Duane Court apartment the night of Aug. 6, 2015, also took the stand, telling jurors they were gambling at the apartment with some acquaintances. About an hour in, they left, and it was outside the apartment when they were ambushed by two people armed with guns.

“So I just turned around, and when I turned around, there was two people, like black blurs. Like, it was so dark...two people just running up toward us.”

Part of the court’s conditions for WTOC covering the trial is not identifying civilian witnesses by name or showing their faces. Bryan’s friend told jurors he was shot in the chest, and soon after he heard a barrage of gunshots, Bryan called out for help. The two attackers ran off, and Bryan and his friend made their way toward Bryan’s rental car nearby. Both were too weak to get in, and called for help.

“He was shot, he was...asking for help. I could tell he was hurt. I could tell he was hurt.”

One acquaintance from the apartment gathering came out, saw the two injured men, got them into the car, and headed toward the hospital. As they were leaving, responding officers spotted them and pulled them over, quickly realizing in the car were the victims, including Bryan - not the shooters.

“From what I saw, he appeared unconscious, not moving. That’s what I saw," said Deputy William Mauro, former SCMPD officer.

The responding officer described seeing Bryan in the back seat of the car.

In the weeks and months following Bryan’s murder, his family made it their mission to not only get justice for their son, but to also speak out against gun violence. They’ve even started a foundation in his name.

This trial is the next step for the Bryan family, as well as for friends who came to show their support in the courtroom Tuesday.

The jury has been sent home for the evening.

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