DELAND — Lamont "Cornbread” Postell Jr. took the stand and testified at his stand your ground hearing Monday that he was fearful of being attacked again when he shot and killed a Bethune-Cookman University football player who already had beaten him once that night.
Postell said he shot and killed Don’Kevious Johnson, 23, of Belle Glade, early on the morning of Feb. 13, 2016, after a party at the Indigo Lakes Golf Club’s clubhouse in Daytona Beach because the football player and one of the football player's friends named Greg Davis had already beaten him unconscious inside the party.
Postell said he was in his friend's car waiting to leave after the beating when he heard angry voices and then saw the men approaching.
Under questioning by his defense attorney Johnny McCray, Postell said Johnson and Davis threatened him again.
That's when Postell said he closed his eyes and fired the gun.
"I was scared," Postell said.
Postell, 26, was indicted on a charge of first-degree murder in Johnson’s killing and two counts of attempted first-degree murder in the shootings of Justine Cunningham, then 20, of Rockaway, N.Y., and Tre Jamal Williams, then 21, of Palmetto.
Johnson was shot in the head, Cunningham in the neck and Williams in the back. Cunningham and Williams were not involved in the fight.
[READ MORE: The 4 men accused in Bethune-Cookman-related shootings]
Postell testified before Circuit Judge James Clayton at the Volusia County Courthouse in DeLand.
Postell, who said he adopted the "Cornbread" nickname from his father who also went by the name, lived at the time of the shooting in Miami Gardens but was staying with a friend in Daytona Beach. He said the highest grade he completed was 12 and did not attend B-CU. He did attend Daytona State College at some point.
Postell initially denied to police that he had shot Johnson that night or had even been armed with a gun.
“Sir, I didn’t get no gun,” Postell said in the police interview during which he denied numerous times shooting anybody.
But that story eventually changed and Postell is now claiming he shot Johnson in self-defense and is arguing he has immunity under Florida’s controversial stand your ground law.
Police had visited the party before the shooting. They shut down the gathering about 1 a.m. because the 300 to 400 people were deemed overcapacity for the venue.
Investigators said Postell and Johnson had fought during the party and Postell was knocked out and carried out by a bouncer.
In that initial police interview on the day of the shooting, Postell insisted he had not had a gun and did not shoot anybody. He said he learned on Snapchat that someone had been shot and that he was wanted in the killing.
Assistant State Attorneys Ryan Will and Andrew Urbanak played for the judge the videotaped police interview of Postell.
Postell said he got punched twice during the party and knocked out. And he insisted he didn’t know anything about the shooting. He said he woke up in the backseat of a car with two women who took him to a friend’s house.
But on the stand Postell, dressed in his orange jail jumpsuit, calmly testified that Johnson was with Davis, whom Postell had had problems with before. Postell said Johnson and Davis beat him up.
Postell said he was inside his friend's car waiting for them to leave when the men threatened him again.
Postell said he stepped out of the car because he didn't want to get boxed in and he was holding the gun at his side. He said the firearm belonged to one of his friends and had been left in the car.
He testified the men threatened to take the gun from him and Johnson came closer. That's when he fired.
Then he said he left and he did not know he had actually shot Johnson and killed him. He said he only learned that the next morning.
Postell stood about 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighed 108 pounds while Johnson was 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighed 235 pounds.
Postell did not claim stand-your-ground during his interview with Daytona Beach Police Officer James Maher.
“Did he acknowledge he was the shooter?” Will asked.
“No,” Maher said.
“Did he at any point say he needed to act in self defense?” Will asked.
“No,” Maher said.
“Did he at any point say he was standing his ground?”
“No,” the officer said.
The hearing continues Tuesday.
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