It's a tragedy all the way around.
Two young children are fatherless — their dad was shot and killed in May. And this week in Fairfax County Circuit Court, their mother testified against the killer — her own brother.
THE VICTIM was Derrick Nathaniel Meade, 25, and on trial for murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony is David Marsden Logan, 36. They both lived in the same house in the Clifton Hunt community, and the shooting occurred in the driveway.
Believing Logan acted with "malice and premeditation," Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney William Rhyne has asked the jury of four men and eight women to find Logan guilty of first-degree murder. But defense attorney Bob Whitestone sees it differently.
"This case is not a whodunit," he told the jurors. "My client did shoot Derrick Meade. But this is not a case of malice. He shot him because Derrick was in a jealous rage and David believed his younger sister was in danger of serious harm from [him]."
In his opening statement Tuesday, Rhyne said that, on May 15, 2005, Logan's sister Casey and Meade — with whom she has two children, Derrick Jr. "Nathaniel," 4, and Alexis, 2 — were arguing verbally, "as they often did," in the driveway.
He said Meade was loading Nathaniel into his carseat when Logan, who'd come outside the house with a silver, .9 mm, semi-automatic pistol, "pulled the receiver back and let a bullet slide into the chamber, and Casey heard it."
She then heard Meade say, "Your brother pulled a gun on me," but she didn't want Meade talking about guns in front of their son so, said Rhyne, she "kicks him in the butt. When Derrick straightens up, he turns around and comes face-to-face with Casey."
It's still unclear exactly how Meade then turned around again so his back was to Logan. Meanwhile, Logan came up behind his sister. "The next thing Casey notices is the pistol coming over her shoulder," said Rhyne. "She hears the bang and sees Derrick shot in the back."
He said Logan didn't stick around to give Meade CPR. Instead, he fled in his own car and was apprehended shortly thereafter in the parking lot of the Centreville Multiplex Cinemas, with the gun on the floorboard.
POLICE FOUND the spent bullet shell on the driveway, plus four more bullets in Logan's pants pocket. The fatal round, said Rhyne, came from Logan's gun and "entered [Meade's] back, went through his spine, lodged in his aorta and killed him ... Casey wasn't asking for David's help, and she didn't want it."
Later, said Rhyne, while telling police Det. Christopher Flanagan the "most rational" thing he could do would be to get an attorney, Logan reportedly blurted out, "It hasn't been a rational day; I really screwed up."
Whitestone, however, said a "prolonged period" of domestic abuse between Meade and Casey profoundly affected Logan, whom he described as a "shy, reclusive soul." Whitestone said this case "isn't about ill will between David and Derrick, jealousy or money. It's not about anything but David's wish to protect his sister."
He said Meade had a hot temper and was aggressive in nature and had met Casey when both attended Mountain View School. But, he added, "They had a long and troubled relationship characterized by arguments, breakups and reconciliations, over four or five years."
As for Logan, said Whitestone, in his early teens, he became severely depressed, developed insomnia and had no energy. He dropped out of his junior year at South Lakes High and worked at menial jobs until, at age 20, he became a bike messenger, which he enjoyed, and his health improved.
He moved to Seattle at 25, but the depression and insomnia eventually returned and he became homeless and impoverished. In December 1999, at almost 30 years old, he returned to his parents home in Clifton.
But unbeknownst to anyone in his family, while in Seattle, Logan had purchased a pistol for target shooting. He kept it hidden in a locked box in his room on the second floor where, said Whitestone, he became a "timid and gentle recluse." Logan rarely left his room; he had few friends and minimal interaction with his family.
In summer 2004, Casey and the children also returned home, into the room beside Logan, and he became close to and often played with his niece and nephew. Eventually, Meade moved in with them and, soon, said Whitestone, he and Casey began having "loud, profane arguments."
LOGAN PUT on headphones to block out the noise. "But as the arguments intensified, he became increasingly fearful for his sister's safety," said the attorney. "He heard Derrick threaten to kill Casey." Then on May 15, after Derrick and Casey returned home from King's Dominion, Casey received a call from a male friend.
"Derrick flew into a violent rage and accused Casey of infidelity," said Whitestone. "David, in his room, playing with his computer, thinks he may have to intervene and he gets his pistol. Derrick was 6 feet, 215 pounds and David is 5 feet 10 inches, 140 pounds — half as large as Derrick. He felt helpless against Derrick, but figured he could control the situation if he had a pistol."
Tucking it in his waistband, under his shirt, Logan went outside to the driveway where, Casey later testified, Meade was threatening to take Nathaniel and leave. Whitestone said Casey and Meade were having a "violently loud argument" and Logan "sees Derrick in his sister's face, screaming and gesturing."
Whitestone said Logan told Meade to lower his voice, but then Meade began approaching and yelling at him. "David — who felt threatened at that point — displayed the pistol, holding it down low," said Whitestone. "Derrick goes to his car and tells David words to the effect, 'I'm from the streets — one word from me and you're gone.'"
Then, after driving 10-15 feet, Meade stopped the car and, said Whitestone, "confronted Casey at the rear passenger door." Then came the butt kick and, next, "from David's perspective, it looked like Derrick pushed or shoved Casey. David fired the pistol at Derrick because, at that moment, he thought, 'I've got to do something to help my sister.'"
The trial is continuing through Thursday of this week, and then the jury will begin deliberations. Witness testimony and the outcome will be in next week's Centre View.