Tuesday was the first day of testimony in the criminal homicide trial of Lindley Thelismond and it was a lesson in organized gang life and a look into the hostilities that arise, even amongst members of the same gang.
Thelismond, who’s a month shy of his 21st birthday, was 17 at the time he allegedly shot and killed 26-year old James Jeter on February 27, 2019 inside the home of Richard Andino at 1036 Orchard Avenue on Lebanon’s north side of town.
Andino, who was on the stand for well over two hours Tuesday, said he, Jeter and Thelismond were all members of the Crips gang, based out of Brooklyn, New York.
He said he was ordered by an upper level Crip to help Thelismond find living arrangements in Lebanon, after he got into some trouble in Brooklyn and had to get out of the city.
Andino also said Jeter, the victim, was his very close friend and had also bounced between Lebanon and Brooklyn. He said Jeter had only returned to Lebanon four days prior to his death.
Although Andino tried to diffuse an argument that had quickly erupted between Thelismond and Jeter, who hadn’t known each other and even ordered the teen to leave his house when he wouldn’t calm down, Thelismond pulled a handgun from his backpack and shot Jeter, as Andino stood between them.
After Thelismond fled the Orchard Avenue home, Andino took his two stepchildren, who had been upstairs at the time and left the house. Despite lying about his name, where he was, and the circumstances of the shooting, Andino also called 911 from outside the home and said Jeter had been shot and needed help. The recorded 911 call was played for the jury Tuesday.
Court-appointed Public Defender, Kevin Dugan tried to discredit Andino’s testimony because he had initially lied. Andino said he did so because he had outstanding arrest warrants in Lebanon and didn’t want to go to jail.
District Attorney Pier Hess Graf asked Andino why he was cooperating with the prosecution, even though he didn’t have any deals on the table for leniency on his outstanding charges.
Andino replied that Thelismond “killed my friend in my house where my kids were, then went home to sleep as if nothing happened.”
The trial continues today and is expected to last all week.