Witnesses give chilling testimony in Vernest Griffin murder trial
(FOX 2) - Witnesses testified Wednesday in the trial of a man accused in a crime spree that left two co-workers dead.
"He just took two a couple steps backwards and unzipped his coat, and pulled the gun out , racked it up and flipped out," recalled Justin Haaga, the owner of BSD Linehaul.
Vernest James Griffin is accused of murdering 60-year-old Keith Kitchen in Taylor and 58-year-old Eriberto Perez in Pontiac during a killing spree last year. It's day two of his trial in Wayne County as he faces several charges, including first-degree murder and armed robbery.
The deadly shooing spree happened just three months after prosecutors say Griffin walked into BSD Trucking in Taylor in November of 2017 to pick up his last paycheck. Keith Kitchen's son, Justin Haaga, testified Wednesday that Griffin became agitated and wouldn't leave.
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"He's puffing his chest up to me, I tried asking him to leave. I told him, if you don't leave I'm gonna whoop your a**," Haaga said.
That's when Haaga says Griffin stood up, unzipped his jacket and pulled out a gun.
"He racked the bullet, and stuck it right in my face and flipped out," he said.
He did not shoot anyone at that time and was arrested by Taylor police. But while out on bond, on February 1, 2018, prosecutors say Griffin went back to the trucking company and opened fire.
"I heard the door swing open and he was standing there with a rifle," said BSD Linehaul employee Shaun Sykes.
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This time, Griffin allegedly killed Kitchen. Prosecutors say he shot him 10 times. Employees described hearing several gun shots and seeing Griffin take off. Prosecutors say he then stole a semi truck, but the defense questioned the memories of witnesses and reminded jurors that Griffin didn't use that gun back in November.
"He was basically a normal citizen. Had no warrants, didn't appear to have a criminal history or anything," said Taylor police officer Mark Johnston.