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Testimony continues in Haywood murder trial

Morning Journal/Deanne Johnson Citasia Tisdale (left) testifies about the neighborhood around Destiny Moody’s Main Street, Wellsville, home by looking at a large map held by defense attorney Dennis McNamara (center) and Ohio Attorney General Special Prosecutor Micah Ault (right). Tisdale was the person who found Moody’s body when she came downstairs in the morning.

LISBON — Testimony continued Tuesday in the trial of Terrance L. Haywood, accused in the murder of Destiny Moody, also known as Destiny Penny, in October of 2019.

Haywood, also known as Dew, 28, Chester Avenue, Wellsville, is charged with murder, aggravated burglary, tampering with evidence and having weapons while under disability. The charges include a firearms specification, that can add time to the sentence. The unclassified felony murder charge carries a possible sentence of 15 years to life.

During the afternoon three women who were around Haywood around the time of the murder were called to the stand by the prosecution.

The first woman was Citasia Tisdale, who found Moody on the floor of the apartment in the morning. Tisdale had an arrangement with Moody and was watching two of her children and her own daughter that night at the apartment while Moody worked at McDonald’s down the street until midnight. Moody was supposed to watch Tisdale’s daughter when Tisdale was starting a job at Foxes Den Pizza.

Tisdale said she had become reaquainted with Moody in the last month or so of her life and Tisdale’s brother “Juju” was friends with Haywood. Tisdale said sometimes she would braid Haywood’s hair for him and she knew he stayed there and his belongings were kept at the apartment. But she also said he would come and go and Moody’s relationship with him was not going well.

On Oct. 21, 2019, Tisdale testified she got the children to bed and came downstairs when Moody came home from work around midnight. They listened to music and smoked marijuana. Then she got tired and went upstairs to bed, while Moody stayed up. Tisdale was watching American Horror Story in the big bed with the three children sleeping and Moody came up later and went into the children’s room while playing music.

Tisdale said she pushed the bedroom door shut and turned up the TV in the room to drown out the noise. She finally fell asleep around 3 a.m. she thought. She awoke after the children should have already been on the way to school, but found them sleeping in the bed at 9:30 a.m.

Julie Gallop, who had worked for the Community Action Agency Head Start program, testified she was on the bus, helping the children, when they went to pick up Moody’s son at 8:34 a.m., Oct. 22, 2019. They waited about five minutes and found the door hanging open, but she did not get off the bus to knock or check because it was raining. Gallop testified she did call and message Moody after they got to school, but got no answer.

Tisdale said she went to look for Moody after she awoke but could not find her in the house. She saw the door was open and tried calling and messaging Moody’s friend Dez down the street, Tisdale’s brother Juju and Dew to see if they knew where she was at and only “Dew” responded.

Haywood said he did not know where she was.

Tisdale found her keys on the table and the truck in the driveway. Finally, she spotted Moody lying on the floor. She tapped her on the leg and told her to get up because the children needed to go to school. She did not respond. She tried again and the body lifted up and she knew she was dead.

Tisdale said she thought her friend had a seizure and had fallen and hit her head where there was a gash above her eye. She notified Dew, Dez and JuJu about what she found on Facebook Messenger and then called 911.

Wellsville Patrolman Doug Filippi testified late in the day he arrived at the home at about 10 a.m. and found the body up against the wall. He also spotted a shell casing on the floor and another officer checked for a pulse. The police sent Tisdale upstairs to take care of the children they could hear there.

Filippi testified that Tisdale was very calm, not panicking and told them she did not hear anything.

“I was just sleeping,” Tisdale testified when asked how she did not hear a gun. “I was so tired. I was just knocked out.”

A BCI phone analyst, Joann Gibb testified earlier about the phone, text and messaging information she had been able to pull off of several phones. Tisdale was asked about some of her conversation with Haywood at that time, including deleted messages. She testified Dew told her he had some guns in the house and wanted her to try to find them, but she did not want to do that for him.

She also said she told Haywood it appeared someone kicked in the door and he seemed upset about Moody’s death. She also messaged him about how she did not think she could hold it together because Moody’s children did not know what had happened yet.

Defense attorney Dennis McNamara questioned Tisdale about some of her story. There were concerns that she testified Haywood and JuJu had not been there while Moody was at work, but during statements she gave previously to police she said they had come by. She said she just could not remember the timeframe that they were there.

McNamara also asked Tisdale if her daughter now lives with her aunt because of her overdoses, which drew a quick objection from Ohio Attorney General prosecutors Micah Ault and Christian Stickan. Although she eventually admitted to using opioids, Tisdale said that does not affect her memory. Additionally, she admitted she was hospitalized in December, not due to an overdose, but due to a vehicle crash with opioids involved.

She testified she did not have access to Moody’s Facebook account, which McNamara said someone continued to use after investigators believe she had died.

Tisdale testified she did not like Haywood, but did not think he killed Moody. Two other women who testified said similar things during cross examination.

Michelle Byers of Wellsville met Haywood the evening of Oct. 21 at New Dimensions Lounge, where they had two or three drinks each. She was on footage coming in and out of the bar to smoke. They left in separate vehicles around 12:15 a.m. and he followed her vehicle back to Wellsville but stopped near Moody’s house.

Some of the recovered messages read indicated they were at least flirtatious with each other, but she called him her friend. She said she still talks to him nearly every day and just spoke to him on Monday this week.

She testified she got a text from him at around 3 a.m. the night of the murder asking what she was doing, but she was asleep so she did not answer him until about 6:14 a.m. the next morning. She also testified Haywood, who was in West Virginia at this point, said he was upset by what happened. At some point he messaged and asked her to hold onto some weed for him.

Prompted by McNamara, Byers described Haywood as a “big teddy bear” who was not violent toward her.

Jurors also heard from Byers’ friend, Katie Riley, who also testified she had stopped at New Dimensions after work and saw Byers, who she called Shelly, and Dew there. After being reminded of her statement to police, Riley said she thinks she went to Sheetz to get food and cigarettes because the bar was out of food by the time she got there. When she got back they were gone.

When asked if Byers and Haywood seemed to be together as a couple she said she saw them together, but whether or not they had affection for each other was their business.

Both Byers and Riley admitted to having criminal convictions.

Jurors also heard Tuesday from Edward Lulla, a special agent with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations, who along with another agent searched the crime scene. Evidence taken included the shell casing found on the floor, cigarette butts found, a gun holster on the floor, a DNA swab of the door handle. Additionally, Lulla described how they took extra effort to preserve a shoe print, possibly of a tennis shoe, that was on the door near the door handle.

Neither Lulla nor Filippi testified they went upstairs to investigate the murder, which was believed to have happened on the first floor where the body was found.

During early morning testimony on Tuesday several business owners and organizations with cameras in Wellsville and East Liverpool came to court to testify about how Wellsville investigators came to them in the days after the murder and took footage or cameras from them. Each identified where the camera showed in relation of their business — Roy Larkins, the owner of My Bar in Wellsville, had footage of Main Street; Mark Walton, the owner of New Dimension Lounge in East Liverpool, had footage of his side door; Nicholas Checkler, the owner of Nick’s Pizza in Wellsville, had footage pointing down the street toward Moody’s apartment; William Collins, a trustee at the Fraternal Order of the Eagles had footage on Main Street; and Elaine Austin, an employee at Kwik King in Wellsville, had footage out the front of the store. Bill Ricciardulli, a tech coordinator, provided the police with footage from the football stadium, which shows Independence Square housing complex in the background.

Testimony is expected to continue this morning.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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