A self-admitted gang member and co-defendant in the shooting death of a Tyler woman during gang violence last year took the stand Wednesday in the murder trial of Dennis Bendy and told jurors Bendy was one of the shooters.
Rakheem Goldstein, also known as “Boobie,” said he was with Bendy and Elisha “E.J.” Williams when they drove Goldstein’s girlfriend’s car to P.T. Cole Park, where they went to shoot the member of a rival gang.
During the shooting, Briana Young, 20, was fatally shot in the chest and fell to the ground with her 3-year-old son in her arms. Her son was not injured in the shooting.
Goldstein said he, Bendy, and Williams, all members of the Westside Crips Rolling 60s, were talking about a shooting Bendy claimed happened earlier in the day when Williams got a phone call telling him where Wilson “K.J.” Hurd was so they could retaliate.
Goldstein said they went to several locations to grab guns from a guy named “Slick” and then headed to the park to confront Hurd, a member with the Northside 5 Deuce Hoover Crips.
When Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham asked what he was thinking at the time, Goldstein only replied, “I thought, ‘I guess it’s about to go down.’”
Goldstein said they circled the park a few times before Williams got out of the car on the opposite side of the park from where Hurd and several others were located.
Bendy drove the car around to the side of the park where Hurd was and pulled up behind Hurd’s Cadillac, from which he began firing at Hurd.
Goldstein said the shooting happened quickly and he remembered going to a home on Boone Street and meeting with a man named “Main,” where they got rid of two of the guns, including an AK-47 and a Glock.
Goldstein said he bought some Xanax from Main while at the location and remembered feeling good afterward. He added that getting rid of the weapons was his idea.
When asked by Bingham when he learned about Briana’s death, Goldstein said it was later that night when he checked his Instagram.
Bingham asked how the news made him feel.
“I thought, ‘It’s fixing to get real,’” he said.
However, he said he was more concerned about his future than Ms. Young’s death.
Goldstein said he left his girlfriend’s home on Texas Highway 155 and went to another girl’s home and then to Dallas, where he met up with another “friend girl.”
He said this woman drove him to Atlanta, where he hoped to hide, but his sister called, telling him police were looking for him in connection to Young’s death.
Goldstein said on the drive back to Tyler, he went over his story and planned to lie to police and even had other women who were going to say he had been with them on the night of the shooting.
Thompson attacked Goldstein’s testimony, picking out almost a dozen lies that Goldstein, who also is charged with murder in the case, had told authorities between August 2013 and his Wednesday court appearance.
“I’ve probably told a few lies. Lies are lies,” he said.
As Thompson continued questioning Goldstein about his lying and his cavalier attitude toward the case, Goldstein said, “I’m telling the truth today.”
Thompson then asked if he hoped to get a lighter sentence in the case for his testimony, and Goldstein replied he did.
Thompson asked if the court was supposed to believe that he suddenly developed a conscience in the case.
“I just wanted to do what is right. Her family needed closure,” he said.
On re-direct, Goldstein told Bingham he was correct when no deals had been made for his testimony in the case.
Testimony is scheduled to resume today in the case.
Bendy is facing up to 99 years or life in prison if convicted.