A 23-year-old felon named Sedale Dorsey sobbed when he met with police in late September 2010 to describe how a bullet meant for him had found a 2-year-old boy instead.
Toddler Jeremy Galmon was sitting on his grandmother’s lap in the backseat of a car on a Sunday afternoon, Sept. 26, 2010, parked at First and Dryades streets in Central City. They heard what sounded like a balloon pop and the little boy peeked out the back window.
Then, “pop, pop, pop, pop, pop,” and Jeremy fell back, bleeding from the bullet that smashed through his tiny face.
The entire city writhed with grief, with rallies and public pleas for witnesses to come forward. Tips poured in.
But it was Dorsey, one of two intended recipients of those bullets, that first gave police two names: Jamiron Pollard and Bernell Pollard, two cousins he’d known for years, who for an unknown reason had tried to shoot him.
The Pollards are on trial this week for allegedly killing the boy, and trying to kill Dorsey and his friend, Sean Briggs.
Both are charged with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder, facing an automatic sentence of life in prison if a jury finds them guilty as charged.
Detective Robert Long testified Wednesday that Dorsey cried as he recounted that Sunday afternoon.
The detective believed he was mourning, like everyone else in town, over the child that he would never meet.
Within a month, Dorsey, too, ended up dead.
He was gunned down on October 25, 2010, in a spray of bullets shot from a moving car on South Liberty Street, a half-mile away from the corner where Galmon was shot.
But 29 days before his death, he and Briggs were riding in a white Chevrolet Impala down First Street in Central City, about a block from a second-line parade.
Jeremy Galmon and his family had parked at First and Dryades. His mother went to the parade, while he waited in the car with his grandmother and two other babies.
As Briggs and Dorsey passed through the intersection, witnesses told police that two men on the street pulled out pistols and opened fire on the moving car.
Jeremy’s grandmother, Joyce Galmon, testified Wednesday that she heard a sound, and thought a balloon had popped.
Then she heard more shots, and she knew what was happening. The back windshield shattered. She grabbed the boy and tried to duck for cover.
But it was too late: a bullet had smashed through the boy’s ear, broke through his jaw and exited from the other side of his face.
The Impala had been shot multiple times, but neither man inside was hit.
The gunmen on the street jumped into a car and sped away as the boy’s family tried to save him. His face was soaked in blood.
“I was screaming, hollering, help, help, help, help,” his grandmother testified.
His uncle rushed him, bleeding, to the hospital.
“He was already dead,” Assistant District Attorney Brittany Reed told the jury in her opening statements Wednesday.
“There was nothing that could be done.”
The tiny blue polo shirt and baby Nike Air Jordan sneakers he’d been wearing were admitted into evidence Wednesday.
Police collected 25 bullet casings from the street, 18 from a 9 mm handgun and seven more from a .45-caliber. Detectives determined that at least two shooters had fired at least 25 shots on the block, packed with revelers at the second-line parade.
Long testified for hours Wednesday about the series of witnesses who eventually led police to the Pollard cousins.
Four women had watched the shooting from another nearby car. Three of them were unable to pick the shooters from a photo lineup. Only one looked at the pictures and recognized one of the shooters. She identified only Bernell Pollard as one of the gunmen.
Long also interviewed both Briggs and Dorsey the night of the shooting.
The shot-up car sputtered and broke down around the corner, and the two men had tried to flee.
By the time police caught up with them, Dorsey seemed “concerned and scared,” Long said. But he was not cooperative and said he didn’t see the shooters. Briggs was also disinclined to help police at first, Long said. He seemed “somewhat aggravated” and denied having seen the shooters.
But he admitted that he’d pulled out a gun when the shooting started.
He never fired back at the gunmen, he said. But when the car stopped, he stashed it under a house before he took off, he said.
Reed, prosecuting the cousins with Assistant District Attorney Francesca Bridges, told the jury Wednesday that ballistic tests confirmed that Briggs never fired the gun.
He was booked with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Both Briggs and Dorsey had prior felony convictions for possession of cocaine.
But both men changed their minds and decided to cooperate with police.
Dorsey first identified both Pollards, and Briggs soon followed suit.
Briggs was offered immunity from prosecution on the gun charge in exchange for his testimony against the Pollards. He is expected to take the witness stand Thursday. Defense attorneys Ammon Miller and Arthur Harris sought to have his testimony excluded. Judge Robin Pittman declined to do so.
Then they asked for a mistrial arguing that the state was forcing Briggs to perjure himself on threat of prosecution. Pittman also decline that request.
Both warned the jury in their opening statement that Briggs’ story changed, that he shouldn’t be trusted.
“It’s not what they say, it’s the quality of what they say,” Miller warned.
Miller and Harris grilled the police officers that testified Wednesday, but they asked no questions of the first two witnesses: the boy’s mother and grandmother.
Delaaronia Galmon told the jury about the last time she saw her son. She’d been a block away and heard the shots. As she cowered onto the ground, she had no idea that one of them had hit her little boy.
A relative called with the news, and she hurried to the hospital to be with her son. But she never said goodbye.
“They didn’t want me to see him,” she cried Wednesday on the witness stand. “I never got a chance to see him.”
She slumped onto the deputy who led her out of the courtroom, and wailed in the hallway.
Both women returned to the courtroom, and they sat shoulder-to-shoulder in the front row.