Antoine Riggins, on trial for the murder of Terrell Pough, took the witness stand yesterday and was describing their relationship as, "We was friends," when the victim's mother, Elizabeth Pough, jumped up and screamed, "So why the f- - - did you kill him?"
Struggling to get to Riggins while family members restrained her, she shrieked, "Why the f- - - did you kill my baby?"
Even after she was ushered out into the hallway, her uncontrollable moans could be heard in the courtroom.
Barbara McDermott, defense counsel for co-defendant Saul Rosario, who allegedly gave Riggins the murder weapon, asked Common Pleas Judge Shelly Robins-New to declare a mistrial.
But after polling jury members about their ability to disregard the outburst and consider only the evidence presented from the witness stand, Robins-New allowed the trial to continue.
Elizabeth Pough was barred from attending the rest of the proceedings.
Back on the witness stand, Riggins denied making the signed statement in which he admitted to homicide detectives that on the night of Nov. 17, 2005, he shot Pough in the back of the head over an unpaid $1,000 cocaine debt.
Pough - lionized in People magazine months earlier as an exemplary single dad working hard to raise his 2-year-old daughter - had asked Riggins to get him 4.5 ounces of coke "for a friend," Riggins told homicide detectives.
But two weeks went by, Pough hadn't paid up and the coke supplier told Riggins to either give him Pough's address or suffer the consequences, Riggins stated.
Riggins then shot Pough to death in front of Pough's Germantown apartment, he said.
"I apologize to Terrell's daughter for taking her father away from her," Riggins told police in his signed statement.
Yesterday, taking the witness stand in his own defense, Riggins testified that he had never told police any of that.
Asked by Assistant District Attorney Carmen Lineberger about his signed statement, Riggins said he hadn't read any of the statement before signing it.
What really happened, Riggins said, is that he spent the night at the home of a "lady friend," doing his homework on her computer.
Around dinner time, Rosario stopped by and helped him with the homework, Riggins testified.
They had cheesesteaks for dinner. Rosario left about 11 p.m. Riggins slept over until late the next morning, he said.
So according to Riggins yesterday, both he and Rosario were at his lady friend's house in West Kensington doing homework when Pough was shot to death in Germantown.
He said he hadn't learned of Pough's death until days later.
Riggins testified that he had told all of that to homicide detectives and thought that the statement he signed without reading was his account of his night at his lady friend's house.
Lineberger is scheduled to continue cross-examining Riggins on Monday. *