This week, two witnesses described to a Barnstable Superior Court jury the moments leading up to the October 16, 2019 murder of Darrell Russ at AQ Auto on Yarmouth Road.
Authorities allege William Hayes, 42, of Falmouth, shot Russ three times in the auto repair shop following an argument.
Jarran Watkins, owner of the adjacent Big Boy Rental, a car detailing and rental car shop, was having breakfast around 11 a.m. when Russ and another man, later identified as Aquil Pryor, arrived at Big Boy which shares the building at 362 Yarmouth Road with AQ Auto.
He remembered the men’s demeanor as calm but excited, as they discussed a concert they and other friends had all planned to attend that Saturday at Foxwoods.
More testimony from the Hayes trial:Citation for work on a vehicle-initiated fight, which led to the death of Darrell Russ
Both Russ and Hayes had been friends with Watkins for many years, Watkins told the jury.
Watkins also said that Russ brought a bottle of Patron with him and drank one to two glasses of alcohol while in Big Boy’s office.
Russ and Pryor left after about 30 or 40 minutes and planned to speak to Hayes, Watkins said.
Watkins remembered hearing a “confrontation” in Hayes’ nearby shop.
According to testimony earlier in the trial, Russ had asked Robert Rooney, service advisor, at the Hayes auto shop, for an estimate for work on his car. Unhappy with the award, Russ punched Rooney in the face.
“There was a lot of screaming, but it was muffled and I couldn’t tell exactly where it was coming from but Hayes’ office,” Watkins said.
From the windows of Big Boy Rentals, Watkins said he saw Russ and Hayes arguing in the front parking lot. had moved outside. Watkins also noticed Rooney getting into his car in the parking lot.
Watkins left Big Boy Rentals and, along with building manager Sherman Anderson, attempted to break up the argument. Watkins said Hayes told Russ he “didn’t want any trouble” and would call the police if Russ didn’t leave.
“Darrell was upset and Will looked nervous,” Watkins said. “We were just saying, you know, it’s a business, Will was saying he didn’t want any trouble.”
Russ and Pryor then made their way to the side parking lot where Watkins lost sight of them.
About 20 to 30 minutes later, Watkins heard another commotion coming from the direction of Hayes’ office, saying it sounded like chairs being thrown around.
“There was banging and ruffling and screaming and then I saw Darrell running out of Will’s office towards the road,” he said.
He said he saw Russ running down Yarmouth Road before collapsing to the ground.
Anderson gave jurors a similar account of events.
Fifteen minutes after the initial confrontation, he said he saw Russ come in from the side of the building. Russ said he wanted to talk to Hayes.
The next thing Anderson remembered was Russ running through the main entrance.
“There were cars on the road, everyone out, I walked out to Darrell and saw he was bleeding,” Anderson said. “There were a bunch of people above him, I went inside to the common area then out front to talk to the police.”
Anderson then went to the common area of the building where Pryor gave him a box that a state police officer said contained several plastic bags containing white powder.
Anderson, who said he didn’t look in the box, stowed it in the ceiling of his second-floor office. Anderson’s testimony was given under immunity from possible criminal charges in connection with the contents of the box.
Peter Bengtson, a Massachusetts State Police trooper and crime scene supervisor who helped photograph and place identification signs on potential evidence at the crime scene, said he recovered and photographed the box.
Two other witnesses, Elena Easton and Stacy Lachapelle of New Bedford, driving through the area saw Russ collapse in the middle of Yarmouth Road.
The two men drove down to Cape Town to visit a friend who lived in Hyannis, they told the jury on Thursday, and were returning to the freeway when Easton said he heard a loud bang coming from the building at 362 Yarmouth Road.
Lachapelle also testified to hearing that bang, but also said he saw the glass door to 362 Yarmouth Road smash as Russ ran out of the building.
“He was trying to run away from the building,” she said. “He was staggering, running away and trying to get out into the street.”
She said she also saw a “thin, tall, dark guy dressed in black” walk out of the building after Russ, “swinging something in his right hand.”
“There was something black in his hands, but I couldn’t make out the object,” Lachapelle said.
The two women got out of the car. Lachapelle began pressing on an injury she said she saw on Russ’ neck. Easton took video of the scene, which the jury reviewed.
“There was a lot of chaos, there were a lot of men around him but I didn’t recognize any of the guys,” Easton said.
“There was so much blood it just poured out of him,” Lachapelle said. “A nurse came and asked me if I needed any help.”
That nurse, Jessica Turr, a certified practical nurse at the time of the shooting, testified Wednesday.
Vicki Yefko, a firefighter paramedic who responded to the shooting, described Russ’ injuries: puncture wounds to the neck and left side of his torso and back as well as an abrasion on his left thigh above the knee.
“We went to the hospital and continued the help, we gave him a chest seal and a trauma bandage and an IV for fluids,” she said. “He became pulseless on the ride and we started CPR, but he didn’t get his pulse back in the ambulance.”