MAGNOLIA, Miss. (AP) — Testimony from a Mississippi woman whose son and nephew were two of the eight victims killed in an early morning shooting in 2017 was so emotional that the man accused of killing them was in tears.
The Daily Leader reports that Shayla Edwards took the stand Wednesday and testified that Willie Cory Godbolt, a relative by marriage, had taken her son running through his neighborhood.
“Mama, I learned how to breathe when you’re running,” Edwards said her 11-year-old son Austin excitedly told her a week before Godbolt allegedly shot him to death.
Days later, while at her sister’s house, Edwards would hold her son’s lifeless body to her chest and kiss him, rocking him and begging him to wake up.
She began to cry when shown the crime scene photos of Tiffany Blackwell’s living room that showed the bodies of Austin and Blackwell’s 18-year-old son Jordan.
Godbolt shook his head listening to Edward’s testimony, his face wet with tears while she talked about how Godbolt had been a part of their lives for decades and was a part of their church family, the Daily Leader reported.
Blackwell followed her sister on the stand, recounting a similar version of the night they left her home after Godbolt’s ex-wife, now Sheena May, called her for help after Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputy William Durr, May’s mother Barbara Mitchell, her sister Toccara May and her aunt Brenda May were shot multiple times and killed. Married couple Ferral and Sheila Burrage were also fatally shot at a third location.
Blackwell testified that her nephew Caleb, Shayla Edward’s son, later called her to tell her the devastating news.
“He said, ‘Aunt Tiffany, Cory killed Jordan and Austin,’ “she said.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Godbolt, 37. He has pleaded not guilty to four counts of capital murder, four counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, two counts of kidnapping and one count of armed robbery.
The killings began after Godbolt entered his in-laws’ home in Bogue Chitto and got into an argument with his estranged wife and her family over the couple’s two children, a witness testified earlier in the trial.
Godbolt has remained in custody since his arrest on May 28, 2017, hours after the shootings that Memorial Day weekend.
Testimony is expected to continue next week.