Murder suspect may targeted wrong victim

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 20, 2008

WINTON – Throughout the trial of Eric Alan Oakes, his defense attorneys have maintained their client believed he was confronting the person responsible for robbing his co-defendant, Joseph &uot;Joey&uot; Forehand, the week before the July 13, 2002 shooting death of Tyrelle Overton in Ahoskie.

Previous testimony revealed that who Forehand and Oakes apparently believed to be that man was actually Overton.

The man they thought was Overton, Andre Britt, joined by one or two other black males, had allegedly stolen $250 from Forehand on July 6, 2002 at Chubbie’s in Ahoskie.

One defense attorney for Oakes, David Sutton, implied that perhaps Overton was one of those other men.

Tuesday, the state called Travis Britt, Andre Britt’s brother, to the stand.

T. Britt, 30, a student at Pitt Community College in Greenville, testified that his brother owned a yellow Chevrolet Cavalier in July of 2002.

He also testified that neither he nor his brother was acquainted with either Overton or Overton’s best friend, Elton Taylor.

Britt told the jury of his recollection of the events of that fateful night six years ago.

&uot;On that night in 2002 I went to Chubbie’s with my brother and one of his friends from Greensboro, a guy named Steve.

We went that night in Andre’s yellow Cavalier around midnight,&uot; he stated.

Britt continued, &uot;When we got to Chubbie’s, I went in to get something to drink and Andre said that he and Steve were going outside.

I saw them leave with the other guy (Forehand) and they stayed outside 10 or 15 minutes. Then Andre came in and said he was ready to go… that’s when I saw the defendant (Oakes) standing at the door looking at the car… he was looking at it like something had happened or something went wrong.&uot;

Britt went on to say that his brother and the man named Steve had a quarter of an ounce of marijuana that they hadn’t had before, and he believed they had stolen it off of the defendant.

He further revealed that months later he saw Oakes’ face again in an unexpected place.

&uot;I saw the defendant’s picture in the newspaper when he was arrested and recognized it as the person I saw at Chubbie’s that night,&uot; Britt stated.

He later testified that after having seen pictures of Overton, he did not know why anyone would confuse him with either himself or his brother.

&uot;Neither me or Andre looked like Tyrelle Overton and neither did Steve,&uot; Britt stated.

He added, &uot;I just know that when that boy Overton got shot, people were saying that it was supposed to have been Andre.&uot;