Wearing a cream knit pantsuit, her hair tied tight in a high bun, Egypt Morgan told a jury she did not have the intent together with Shamoi Palmer to cause death or bodily harm to anyone.
Morgan is co-accused with Palmer, her then-boyfriend, of the first-degree murder of Jermaine Titus, a father who was shot and killed when his car window was struck by a bullet on Aug. 22, 2018 on Weston Road near Jane Street. According to Crown prosecutors, the bullet was meant for someone known as “Skeeno” and while Palmer is alleged to have pulled the trigger, it’s the theory of the prosecution that Morgan put the plan into motion “using her thumbs on a cellphone.”
Morgan testified that on that August morning four years ago, she left the apartment on Emmett Avenue where she lived with her mother to go to the Rogers Centre. She had a job there as a cashier. Palmer was staying with her at the time.
On the day of the fatal shooting, the jury heard that Morgan texted Palmer, saying she saw Skeeno in the 711. Morgan said Palmer had asked her to let him know if she ever saw Skeeno. She testified she didn’t know why, nor did Palmer explain why. Morgan said Skeeno was no one to her personally.
“I just heard of him before and I seen him on social media, that’s it,” she explained to defence lawyer Douglas Usher.
Morgan said she continued to send text messages describing the clothing Skeeno was wearing and explained where he was standing but after that, boarded a bus to work.
A short time later, the Crown alleges Palmer, who was driving a Mazda SUV, pointed a firearm directly at Skeeno, who had ducked into an alley on Weston Road, and fired across three lanes of traffic. The driver’s side window of a white sedan driving in the opposite direction was struck and Titus was killed, as the Mazda sped off.
Palmer and Morgan have both pleaded not guilty.
Morgan described her relationship with Palmer as toxic and complicated, saying there were lots of ups and downs, break-ups and make-ups because he was cheating and at times, he left her feeling miserable, and hurt.
Surveillance video was shown to the jury of Palmer, Morgan and another woman going to rent a car two weeks prior to the fatal shooting. Morgan explained that she was mad and feeling disrespected that day because she didn’t know the other woman, described as “one of Shamoi’s girls,” would be there.
Morgan explained that Palmer could not rent a car himself because he didn’t have a licence, explaining that she provided the credit card and the other woman provided a G2 licence.
“I did not like that at all,” she said, saying they got a red car.
Usher said that a week later, Palmer and the other woman went back to the rental company to upgrade to a white Mazda SUV. Morgan said she was never made aware of that.
When asked about a text message she sent Palmer after telling him she’d seen Skeeno at the 711 in which she wrote “be careful!!!!!,” Morgan explained she was worried about him getting in trouble because her credit card was on file and he was an unlicensed driver and speeding could cause an accident — or worse, he could get pulled over.
Usher asked, if she had been aware that Palmer had discharged a firearm in that rental car, what would she want him to do with it? Morgan replied, “Get rid of it as soon as possible.”
Morgan later said she and Palmer spoke for about 15 minutes on the phone and he asked her to look into switching up the rental car and to look on Google or Kijiji for cheaper rental places. When Palmer later texted a message saying, “Whatsapp if anything,” Morgan said it didn’t mean much to her.
“It meant he was probably going into an area where he could only use wifi.”
When asked about sending a text message to Palmer saying “glad you got rid of that car,” Morgan said she believed he was still driving the red car.
“I was uncomfortable with him driving. There was a time when we almost got into an accident and he’s unlicensed,” Morgan explained. “My credit card was on file and if anything were to happen I’d have to pay.”
Morgan added that she didn’t like being tied up with the other woman, and felt more comfortable calling him an Uber.
That night, Morgan told the jury that Palmer was distant and said she was annoyed, believing he had spent the day with the other woman.
“I figured he was giving me the cold shoulder because of that.”
32-year-old man shot and killed near Jane and Weston
The following day, the two were fighting and Morgan remembered feeling fed up. She said she wasn’t aware that he was wanted for first-degree murder until she saw Palmer’s face on TV while she was out getting her hair done.
Morgan testified she called her sister to help him get a lawyer and told him he could go there.
“She said, ‘Come, we will get him a lawyer and we will get him situated to get him a lawyer to turn himself in,’” said Morgan.
When Usher asked if Morgan had told Palmer the plan to get a lawyer, she said she hadn’t told him about that yet.
Morgan will continue her testimony on Tuesday morning.
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