Shot twice, Kentarius Montrell Scott died in a rainy parking lot in west Little Rock. The shooter, Darean Deshun Moore of Memphis, disappeared in the storm.
A rowdy evening of fraternity brothers watching basketball at the Twin Peaks restaurant ended in tragedy for Scott, a 25-year-old Philander Smith College student, all due to an argument over scuffed shoes.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed this Wednesday, 20 months later, leaving a Pulaski County jury to decide whether Moore, 22, killed Scott in an act of self-defense, first-degree murder or possibly be a lesser charge. Proceedings before Circuit Judge Leon Johnson resume at 9.30am today, with the trial potentially continuing through Friday.
Scott’s death was ‘tragic and unfortunate’ but it was Scott who stepped on Moore’s shoes twice that night and then laughed at Moore when he took offense, the official said. defense attorney Colleen Barnhill to the nine women and three men who heard evidence.
It was Scott who led a jeering, jeering crowd out of the restaurant to confront Moore, a sight so alarming that a passerby went to seek help for Moore, the public defender said. Then it was a “relentless” and “pissed off” Scott who demanded to fight Moore, she said.
And, ultimately, it was Scott who pushed Moore’s brother – who was trying to calm things down – to get at Moore, forcing the young man to shoot in self-defense, Barnhill said, along with co-lawyers Cheryl Barnard and Jacob Denson. . Moore had to protect herself from Scott, she said.
“Darean reasonably feared for his life that night, and he was justified in defending himself,” Barnhill said in his opening statement.
Moore wasn’t the only person shooting a gun that night, she said. A “full shootout” ensued after Scott was shot, with up to 15 more bullets fired, Barnhill said, describing witnesses who saw two vehicles of gunmen pursuing Moore.
“Bullets are ringing through the neighborhood,” Barnhill said.
Who those others were is a mystery, she said, telling jurors that detectives needed five weeks before they could find two of Scott’s fraternity brothers who would tell them what they saw that night- the.
“[Moore] showed up to a fight with a gun,” Assistant District Attorney Tracye Mosley told jurors as she laid out the murder case in her opening statements.
Mosley and co-lawyer Reese Lancaster described the defendant as the aggressor and instigator that night in August 2020.
“He’s ready to fight because someone stepped on his shoe. [Scott] dies in the rain in the dark parking lot … on a shoe, a shoe that you step on,” Mosley said.
Scott and Moore were in the same group that night, although Moore was not a member of the Philander Smith Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity chapter, as Scott was, and did not know any of the other members beyond his older brother, which also has a member.
Moore was visiting from Tennessee, and his brother had brought Moore for the men’s “scholarship” at the sports bar and restaurant with his fellow “line brothers”, members of the same pledge class.
Beloved regulars known as the Nupes, the band were making their first appearance at the restaurant on North Shackelford Drive after a long hiatus due to the covid pandemic. The occasion was the NBA playoffs, the men were drinking and having fun, and Twin Peaks was full, busy and loud, the prosecutor said.
Moore, dressed in a distinctive pink jacket, knew no one but his brother, and witnesses described him as “indifferent” and aloof, the prosecutor said.
At one point, Scott stepped on Moore’s shoe, Mosley told jurors, but his fervent apology wasn’t enough for Moore, and the two agreed to come forward and settle their differences with fists, followed by many members of the fraternity.
As the crowd watched, the two faced off, but Moore then appeared to back down and lose interest in the fight, the prosecutor said.
Scott, however, did not let his guard down, keeping his hands up, as Moore’s brother, standing in front of their car, called for his brother to get in so they could leave, Mosley said. Then Moore pulled a gun from her coat and shot Scott twice, with the three no more than five feet apart, she said.
Moore didn’t have to shoot, she said, and could have left safely. Instead, he killed Scott and fled, Mosley said.
Police found Moore’s pink jacket in a nearby trash can. Authorities arrested Moore about three hours later after tracking him to a roadhouse in North Little Rock about 23 miles away.
An Uber driver told police he dropped off a ticket there, a drenched man wearing mismatched shoes he picked up at Twin Peaks.
Moore has been imprisoned ever since.