'He shot my dad in the face': Man testifies during accused drug dealer's death-penalty trial




  • In US
  • 2022-12-03 15:08:26Z
  • By Daytona Beach News-Journal
Marcus Pinckney blows a kiss to the gallery during his murder trial in DeLand, Friday, Dec.
Marcus Pinckney blows a kiss to the gallery during his murder trial in DeLand, Friday, Dec.  

A man testified during a murder trial Friday that a drug dealer named Marcus Pinckney had threatened both himself and his father.

Trevon Height said Pinckney told him: "If you choose your father over me, you both are dead."

And Height testified that Pinckney followed up on that threat early on a July morning four years ago.

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Marcus Pinckney, 44, is on trial, accused of killing Height's father, Tracy Height, 57, and trying to kill 27-year-old Trevon Height, as well as a third man named Robert Singleton.

Pinckney was charged with first-degree murder with a firearm, two counts of attempted first-degree murder with a firearm, kidnapping with a firearm, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Pinckney could face the death penalty.

Marcus Pinckney murder trial in DeLand, Friday, Dec.
Marcus Pinckney murder trial in DeLand, Friday, Dec.  

During opening statements, Assistant State Attorney Andrew Urbanak, who is prosecuting the case along with Assistant State Attorney Jason Lewis, said Pinckney was an angry drug dealer who claimed the three men had been ripping him off of drugs and money.

Pinckney had decided to kill the three men, but first he picked up his girlfriend, Christy Armstrong. Pinckney pulled a knife on his girlfriend, accused her of cheating on him and then bound and gagged her, Urbanak said. He then drove around with her before heading to the Sun Plaza Motel in Daytona Beach.

"He told her he was going to kill three men," Urbanak said.

Prosecutors showed the jury a motel security video which showed muzzle flashes as a gunman shot three men. It then showed the gunman firing additional shots at two of the men on the ground.

Pinckney sat next to his attorneys, Terence Lenamon, Jessica Manuele and Joyce Brenner. During his opening statement, Lenamon said that Pinckney's girlfriend told police that Pinckney had been using drugs and was paranoid.

Police body cam video plays during the Marcus Pinckney murder trial in DeLand, Friday, Dec.
Police body cam video plays during the Marcus Pinckney murder trial in DeLand, Friday, Dec.  

Lenamon said that the Heights and Singleton carried knives.

Lenamon said that Pinckney's girlfriend knew about his drug dealing but benefitted from the money it generated, since it paid her bills.

Trevon Height testifies Friday during the trial of Marcus Pinckney who is accused of trying to kill him.
Trevon Height testifies Friday during the trial of Marcus Pinckney who is accused of trying to kill him.  

During his testimony, Trevon Height told Urbanak that he and Singleton were standing and talking outside the Sun Plaza Motel, 1011 S. Ridgewood Ave., early on the morning of July 19, 2018, when Pinckney drove up.

Trevon Height said his father walked over to Pinckney's car and the two men were talking.

'Shot my dad in the face'

"I looked over at Robert, started talking to him some more, and then he shot my dad in the face," Trevon Height said.

Urbanak asked him what else happened.

"He shot my dad, turned toward me and I was just like, sorry for my language, 'Really (expletive),' and he shot me," Trevon Height said.

He said once he was shot he did not remember anything else.

Trevon Height also said neither he, nor his father nor Singleton were armed with weapons.

Pinckney then shot Singleton, according to records.

Circuit Judge James Clayton speaks to attorneys on Friday during the trial of Marcus Pinckney, who is accused of killing one man and trying to kill two others.
Circuit Judge James Clayton speaks to attorneys on Friday during the trial of Marcus Pinckney, who is accused of killing one man and trying to kill two others.  

During cross examination, Lenamon said that the room Trevon Height and his father were living in at the Sun Plaza was a "drug den."

Trevon Height at first disagreed, but later agreed that there was drug use there.

Lenamon also asked him if prostitutes frequented the room.

Trevon Height said he had no control over that. He also testified that both he and his father used drugs.

Assistant State Attorney Jason Lewis during a trial Friday asks a Daytona Beach police detective questions about the gun investigators said Marcus Pinckney used to shoot three men.
Assistant State Attorney Jason Lewis during a trial Friday asks a Daytona Beach police detective questions about the gun investigators said Marcus Pinckney used to shoot three men.  

Pinckney, who has a criminal record, was charged with attempted murder in March of 2004, but pleaded to a lesser charge of aggravated battery and served nearly 10 years in state prison. In that case, he used a 12-gauge shotgun to shoot another man.

Life or death

After jurors had left the courtroom for the day on Friday, Circuit Judge James Clayton asked a woman who was close to Tracy Height whether she would agree to a term of life in prison for Pinckney.

Clayton said that Pinckney would plead guilty and spend the rest of his life in prison if the prosecutors dropped the death penalty.

Clayton said the actual imposition of the death penalty would take a long time.

"I'm going to be dead before he is," Clayton said.

The woman said she would not and indicated other family members also would be opposed to dropping their pursuit of the death penalty.

Clayton said to let him know if they changed their mind.

The woman did not want to comment when approached by a reporter afterward.

The trial continues Monday.

This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Florida man testifies against accused killer in father's homicide

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