Antonio Prophet testified Thursday in Berkeley County Circuit Court that two armed men, one with a gun and the other with a knife, were responsible for the June 2010 deaths of Angela Devonshire and her 3-year-old son, for which he is on trial.
Prophet, 36, of Lorton, Va., was indicted in February 2011 on two counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree arson in the deaths of Devonshire, 22, of Bunker Hill, W.Va., and her son, Andre White.
Their bodies were found the morning of June 6, 2010, in the charred remains of her Cape Cod-style apartment, which was intentionally set on fire, according to an assistant state fire marshal.
The fire at 69 Sydneys Way off Sam Mason Road was reported at 4:36 a.m. by a passer-by.
Prophet testified that he was asleep on the couch in the apartment when he was awakened at about 12:30 a.m. by Devonshire, who told him two men were at the door and wouldn’t leave.
One guy was known as “Boogie” and the other male was unidentified, but Prophet said he was wearing a black “O’s” hat. Prophet testified that one of the men told him Devonshire was a junkie and that she owed him money for drugs.
The men left, but returned a while later, according to Prophet. When they returned, Prophet said he and Angela were outside smoking cigarettes. Boogie had a knife, and the other man, who had a red bandanna tied around his face, had a gun, Prophet testified.
In an attempt to wrest the knife from Boogie, Prophet said he was cut on the underside of his left arm and on both hands, and he had various other nicks. During his testimony, he removed his black suit jacket to show the jury what he said were scars from the incident.
Prophet said the man armed with the gun at one point refused Boogie’s direction to shoot Prophet.
Prophet said he gave the men three $20 bills he had rolled up in his sock in response to Boogie’s demands to be paid. Prophet testified he was held at gunpoint and directed to go to the three-bay garage immediately below the apartment to punch in an entry code so the men could burglarize it.
While he and Devonshire were separated, Prophet said he heard muffled shouts and cries of an apparent struggle between the victim and Boogie in the apartment.
When he and the other man returned upstairs, Prophet said Boogie was covered in blood and Devonshire was lying face up on the floor near a mattress she had slept on in the living room area.
Prophet said Andre, who had awakened amid the altercation, was a few feet from her, lying face down, apparently in a puddle of blood. The boy was motionless, but his mother was still moving, Prophet testified.
The man with the gun started screaming at Boogie, basically telling him he was stupid for what he did, Prophet said.
Moments later, Prophet was able to escape into a wooded area by spraying mace at the man with the gun.
As he was fleeing, Prophet said Boogie fired the gun at him once, but missed.
Prophet testified that while hiding in the woods he could hear voices and footsteps of the men, who he said eventually fled after being unable to find him.
He returned to the apartment to find smoke coming out the door of the residence and discovered Devonshire’s youngest son, Daronte, was asleep inside. Prophet said he snatched the child, who was about 6 weeks old, and set him on a chair on a landing outside the apartment while he unsuccessfully attempted to remove Devonshire’s body from the burning building.
Prophet said the situation was “very overwhelming” and that he fled because he panicked.
Prophet said he took the infant to Devonshire’s parents’ house less than 100 yards from the apartment, but was unable to awaken them after knocking on the door. Prophet said he put the baby on a lawn chair in a patio area of the home, cut through the backyard to get to Sam Mason Road and began walking, and was eventually picked up by friends of a woman he knew in Martinsburg.
In between the first and second visit by their attackers, Prophet said Devonshire told him that “Boogie” was someone she met through Joseph Medina, who was once considered a suspect in the homicide case.
Medina, who is incarcerated for unrelated charges, testified Thursday that he didn’t have anything to do with the homicides, and other witnesses also testified that Medina spent the night in question at the Martinsburg Rodeway Inn.
A small amount of blood on the shirt that Daronte was wearing when he was found unharmed by family members was consistent with Prophet’s DNA profile, an expert with the State Police forensic laboratory testified Thursday.
Prophet said he didn’t seek treatment for his injuries, which included severed tendons in his right hand, until he reached Charlotte, N.C. Prophet was aboard a Greyhound bus en route to Atlanta to meet up with a friend when it stopped for a layover and he got treatment at a nearby hospital. The larger cut on his left arm appeared to be turning gangrenous, he said.