Trial for domestic violence assault ending in accidental shooting begins in Columbus

Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 6:17 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Day one of trial coverage in a 2019 aggravated assault case that resulted in a Columbus mom being accidentally shot by her then 6-year-old son.

The defense and prosecutors delivered opening statements this morning. Both sides wanted the jurors to pay close attention to the facts and evidence shown during this trial.

29-year-old Anthony Gates faces five charges ranging from aggravated assault to strangulation.

About three years ago, police say Gates and his girlfriend Trilisha Williams were in a heated argument at her home off Alpine Drive in Columbus. According to police Gates, had one hand on her neck and a gun in the other pointed at Williams’ head. Her three children were in the home and saw it all.

Police say Gates put the gun down, and one of the children grabbed the weapon in an attempt to shoot Gates but shot their mother by mistake instead.

In court Wednesday morning, Assistant District Attorney Meghan Bowden started off her opening statements with her version of what took place on the night of October 4, 2019. Williams survived and is expected to testify against her former live-in boyfriend in this case.

“And you’re going to hear the forensic interview asking, are you sure you’re the person who shot her because the police don’t believe? They just can’t believe a six-year-old was able to pick up the gun and do this,” said Bowden.

Gates’ defense attorney Roberta Robinson initiated her open statements with a very different perspective.

“And what I’m going to do is show you why the states version is inconsistent. Anthony and Trilisha had a good relationship. They were like two peas in a pod,” said Robinson.

The prosecutor’s first witness was a sergeant who worked the scene. Bowden asked the witness about photos he had taken shortly after arriving at the scene.

“This is a view of the pistol in the front passenger seat of the vehicle,” said the sergeant.

The prosecutor’s second witness was a doctor who attended Williams when she arrived at Piedmont Hospital Emergency room. Gates’ attorney asked the doctor if he could identify if the victim had been strangled.

“Says that I evaluated her neck and thought that neck was normal anteriorly, meaning I didn’t feel or see anything that I thought was abnormal on the anterior part of the neck,” said the witness.

The children who we are not showing because of their age also testified today as to what took place inside the home that night.

All three said the 6-year-old shot their mom by mistake.

The trial will continue on Thursday morning, and jurors will be able to hear from the victim.