Mobile police detective lays out largely circumstantial case linking man to three Mobile shootings
MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Prosecutors on Thursday laid out a largely circumstantial case against a man charged with multiple violent offenses in three separate incidents.
There are plenty of witnesses from a club shooting in November, a home invasion in December and a Walmart shooting just after Christmas, but none of them could identify defendant Darrius Dewayne Rowser, according to testimony. Surveillance video from the club shooting also is inclusive, but Mobile police Detective Jermaine Rogers testified that surveillance video clearly shows Rowser’s face and that a co-defendant told police Rowser was involved in the Walmart shooting.
Rogers also laid out a series of clues from the other two incidents that prosecutors contend link Roswer to those crimes.
Mobile County District Judge George Zoghby determined prosecutors have enough evidence for prosecutors to present all of the charges to a grand jury. The judge also ordered Rowser jailed without bail on a first-degree burglary charge under Aniah’s Law, which voters approved in November to give judges discretion to deny bail for certain violent offenses.
“This is a textbook example of why this law was passed by the voters,” Mobile County Assistant District Attorney Coy Morgan told the judge.
Defense attorney Michael Kaoui argued the evidence against his 19-year-old client is lacking and that he has a clean criminal history.
“Never been on probation, never been convicted,” he said in court.
Paparazzi Lounge shooting
The first incident was a shooting on Nov. 26 at the Paparazzi Lounge on Dauphin Street. Rogers testified that someone tried to shoot a man in the club with a Glock pistol but struck four other people – including a woman who now is paralyzed from the neck down.
Rogers testified that the intended victim of that shooting told police that he was talking to a woman at the club and noticed her eyes get big. He turned around to see a man with a gun and dove as shots rang out.
Rogers testified that surveillance footage does not capture the shooting but does show a man in a hoodie with a cell phone pacing back and forth. That matches a description of the shooter given by witnesses, although they did not see his face and it is not clear on the video, according to testimony.
However, Rogers testified, video from outside the club shows the man in the hoodie running with a gun still in his hand after the shooting. He added that investigators later uncovered messages between Rowser and his girlfriend at that time in which she asks where he is and he responds, “at the club.”
Rogers also testified that the man Roswer was trying to shoot at the Paparazzi also was the target of a shooting at the Bank Nightlife club in September. That shooting took the life of patron of the club, Derrick Shavers. The detective testified that Karmelo Derks, a co-defendant in a later shooting, told police that the intended target of the club shooting is the man who “pays Rowser to do his shootings.”
Home invasion on Dukes Avenue
The second incident was a home invasion on Dukes Avenue in which burglars shot at twin brothers. Rogers testified that the assailants stole a PlayStation 5 game system and a red iPhone, and fired at a car belonging to one of the victims and at a house across the street.
The twins told investigators they could not see the third suspect who barged into the house, but Rogers said detectives believe that was Rowser. That is based partly on the fact that shell casings found at the house are the same type recovered from the Paparazzi shooting and the shell casings from both incidents match a gun police later seized from a home in Chickasaw of Charvez Green. He is charged with murder in an unrelated case, testified Rogers, who added that a Mobile Metro Jail recording shows Rowser telling Green to get his guns.
In addition, Rogers said, police found the red iPhone in a car Rowser was riding in when police arrested him on Jan. 3 following a high-speed chase that started in Prichard.
Rogers testified that police found the PlayStation during a search of Rowser’s home and that one of the Dukes Avenue residents identified it as his based on a damaged HDMI port on the game system.
The third incident was the shooting at the Beltline Walmart on Dec. 27. Rogers testified that three men confronted another group near the self-checkout area. He said Rowser’s face clearly is visible in the surveillance video. An exchange of gunfire left the intended target with a gunshot wound the leg, while an innocent shopper who was behind that man suffered a gunshot to the chest while she was holding her infant child.
In addition to the surveillance video, Rogers testified, Derks told investigators that Rowser was involved. One of the men fleeing the Walmart after the shooting dropped a cell phone that the investigator later determined belonged to Rowser, Rogers said. He testified that it has been used to Google how to fix a PlayStation 5.
To bolster their contention that Rowser is too dangerous to allow out on bond, prosecutors referenced a fatal shooting at the Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort in D’Iberville, Mississippi. Authorities there charged Rowser last week with murder in that incident, which took the life of a native Mobilian who had stopped at the casino for the night as he was making his way to visit his mother.
Differing assessments of testimony
Kaoui, Rowser’s attorney, said after Thursday’s hearing that the murder case appears weak – based largely on a surveillance image of his client at a gas station after the shooting.
“From what I heard today, there is absolutely no evidence linking him to this murder,” he said. “You got some vehicle, may or may not be the vehicle on video at the casino, and then maybe that same vehicle at a convenience store.”
With respect to the testimony about shell casings matching a gun, Kaoui noted that no laboratory ballistics tests have been conducted. And he downplayed testimony about the Walmart surveillance footage, arguing that it merely was the detective’s interpretation.
“There were no witnesses or victims able to identify Mr. Rowser at any of these alleged offense sites. … The only person who would have placed him at the scene would have been the co-defendant, the uncorroborated testimony of a co-defendant,” he said.
Rowser is the second Mobile County defendant ordered held without bail under Aniah’s Law.
“We’re very pleased with the ruling,” Mobile County District Attorney Keith Blackwood said. “Obviously, we think it keeps Mobile safer. That’s why we filed for this Aniah’s hold.”
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