Lawyer: Murder victims killed after stealing 30 pounds of pot

BOISE - Two men who were shot to death in a Boise home months ago had stolen 30 pounds of marijuana before the killings, defense attorney Randall Barnum said.

Barnum was in court Thursday to ask a judge to grant a bond for 34-year-old Samari Winn, who is charged in connection with the murders. Prosecutors say Winn was not the man who pulled the trigger the night Travontae Calloway and Elliot Bailey died, but he led the killer to the home.

The killer has not been apprehended and Winn has been held without bond since his May 9 arrest.

Barnum petitioned Judge Lynn Norton to grant a $50,000 bond, saying there was scant evidence tying his client to the scene.

The testimony of only one eyewitness - Calloway's girlfriend and the lone survivor of the shooting - puts Winn at the Orchard Street house when the men died.

The woman said she opened the door the night of May 8 to see Winn on her doorstep before the shooter stepped past him and opened fire, killing the two men and injuring her. The witness says she recognized the killer from working on a marijuana farm in California with Calloway, but testified she did not know his name.

Barnum cast doubts on her credibility Thursday, pointing out the woman told 911 dispatchers that she didn't recognize the men involved in the shooting. She told police the same thing, later recanting her story in the hospital and identifying Winn and the man at the pot farm as the culprits.

"It's our contention that this is a fabrication," Barnum said. He says the witness was either complicit in the murders or was threatened into lying by the real killers, who he believes were retaliating for the drug theft.

Winn's name was given to police at random, Barnum said.

"I don't think it's happenstance that Mr. Winn had been in her house earlier, and he was likely the first person who comes to mind," he said.

But Prosecutor Grant Loebs said giving Winn the chance to bond out of jail before his trial was too big a risk. He pointed to Winn's long criminal history in California, including convictions for car theft, drug possession and possession of cocaine for sale, as well as his tenuous ties to Idaho.

His prior residence before coming to Idaho was a string of penitentiaries, he said. Winn spent a total of eight years in Folsom State Prison and San Quentin State Prison before moving to Idaho about three years ago.

He said other witnesses say the man police believe is the killer was staying at Winn's house the night of the killing and the two were spotted together at a strip club later that night.

Loebs asked Norton to continue holding the suspect without bond.

"We believe the threat to the community and likelihood of flight is high," he said.

Norton agreed, denying Barnum's request for bail. Winn is scheduled to begin a ten-day jury trial in November.


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