Co-Workers Of Woman Killed At Pharmacy Testify
Woman Accused Of Killing Pregnant Pharmacy Manager
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Several witnesses who were at a hospital pharmacy when a pregnant mother of two was shot and killed in the lobby took the stand on Tuesday in the murder trial for the woman accused of pulling the trigger.
According to prosecutors, Brenda Coney was so upset over being told she cut in line by pharmacy manager Shannon McCants that she came back two days later with the sole purpose of killing the 37-year-old woman.
McCants, a wife and mother of two who was pregnant with her third child, died in November of 2006 after being shot three times.
Investigators said Coney admitted to the shooting and said it happened over a dispute that happened two days earlier when police said Coney got out of line, and then tried cut back in.
In court on Tuesday, the jury was shown the police tape of Coney's interrogation. The woman could be heard telling the investigator, "She told me, she said, 'You're going to come to the front of the line? Get to the back of the line. So I got to the back of the line and so, I didn't appreciate that."
During the interrogation, Coney told the officer she was taking her antipsychotic medicine and that she came to the pharmacy not for her medicine but for McCants.
She said she didn't say anything to McCants before pulling the trigger. "I just shot," Coney said on the interrogation tape.
As the tape played and even while witnesses took the stand and testified, Coney sat calmly in court, at times resting her eyes.
One by one, pharmacy workers described the day when their manager was shot and killed.
Pharmacy workers told the jury that McCants, had been cheerful the morning before the shooting. However, that changed when Coney asked to speak with her.
Witnesses testified that Coney was upset about an incident two days earlier when she cut in line and McCants told her to go to the end of the line.
"'I can't believe she made me go to the back of the line,'" one witnessed quoted Coney as saying.
"Very outraged. She grabbed a gun out of her purse and aimed it at Shannon," said witness Martha Bowser.
Prosecutors showed surveillance video of the pharmacy lobby. They said the video showed Coney with a gun in her purse right before the shooting.
The surveillance video showed the crowd of people scrambling for cover after shots were fired.
"I went in there. I realized she was the one who had been shot, so I hollered back for someone to call the emergency room, somebody, because Mrs. Shannon was shot," said witness Carrie Strafford-Baker.
Prosecutors said Coney's attack was premeditated with one purpose -- to get McCants.
However, the defense told a different story. They told the jury that Coney is not guilty by reason of insanity.
After her arrest, a judge ruled Coney was not mentally fit for trial. After that ruling, Coney underwent months of treatment at a state psychiatric facility before a judge decided she was competent to stand trial.
On Tuesday, the defense said Coney is a paranoid schizophrenic and that she was living in a delusional world, where she thought McCants and others were plotting against her to cause her harm.
"Brenda Coney believed that her neighbor across the street, Vivian Beach, was actually a transsexual who was the source of all her troubles," said a defense attorney.
On Wednesday, the medical examiner is expected to testify before the case goes to the defense.
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