Martha Cameron, testifying yesterday in the trial of an Arlington County man charged with murder and attempted capital murder, described in a low, even voice the incident that left her with two gunshot wounds in the head.
Cameron, who stepped down from the witness stand at one point and parted her hair to show the Arlington County Circuit Court jury where one bullet entered her head, testified that she, Alfreda Coleman and Robert E. Tyler had gone to the District of Columbia the night of Sept. 10 to buy heroin.
Tyler, 42, of 1610 S. Taylor St., is charged in the death of Coleman, 24, and the wounding of Cameron, 25. He also faces several weapons charges. He has pleaded not guilty.
When the three returned to Arlington, Cameron said, Tyler and Coleman began to argue about money as they sat in Tyler's black Grand Prix in the 1800 block of North Edison Street.
Tyler became angry, Cameron said, at one point saying to Coleman, "If I kill you I'm going to have to kill [Cameron] too." Tyler got out of the car, fatally wounded Coleman then approached her, Cameron testified.
"He reached in . . . and shot me. I was hollerin'. He came to the driver's side. I jumped out and started running. He was chasing me. I fell . . . and he caught me. He got on top of me and stuck the gun to my head, but there were no more bullets in it . . . . I was scratching him and punching him and kicking him."
Two shots struck her in the head. One of the shots broke her jaw and knocked out several teeth, she said.
In opening arguments, defense attorney Susan L. Korfanty said Tyler had been drinking before the incident, which occurred at 1:30 a.m. Sept. 11. She said Tyler blacked out and can recall nothing after his argument with Coleman.
Korfanty described the scene of the three sitting in Tyler's car: "Mr. Tyler by this time is quite drunk and he's angry. Mr. Tyler will testify he recalls feeling dizzy and his vision blacking out . . . . He doesn't remember anything else.
"I don't think you'll be able to say Mr. Tyler killed anyone or attempted to kill anyone maliciously, intentionally, deliberately or with premeditation," Korfanty said.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Arthur Karp told the jury to "look into this man's mind. You're going to have to ask yourselves -- did he know what he was doing?"