Prosecution rests case related to El Mula mass shooting in Miami-Dade

Detective testifies for 3rd day in El Mula mass shooting case: ‘We are still working the case’

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The prosecution rested its case against Davonte Barnes on Thursday night for his alleged role in the El Mula mass shooting that killed 3 and injured 20 in 2021 in Miami-Dade County.

Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez said she expected the jury to get the case tomorrow after the defense and closing statements.

Assistant State Attorney Christoper Flanagan called Miami-Dade Detective Alexandra Turnes to the stand for the third day and continued to play a video of Barnes’s interrogation, which involved Turnes and Detective Rich Raphael, on Sept. 23, 2021.

“He did not want a lawyer present,” Turnes told Attorney Robert Barrar, who is defending Barnes.

Barnes, who was not accused of firing a weapon, agreed with the detectives that the shooting at about 12:30 a.m., May 30, 2021, at the banquet hall at 7630 NW 186 St., was the result of an old conflict between two groups in the Miami-Dade areas of Miami Gardens and Opa-locka.

Barnes, who stands accused of being the shooters’ lookout, also said there was a conflict between the groups’ rappers “Savage” and “FoePack,” who Turnes said was born Antonio Jones.

“He did say that the intention was to get at ‘FoePack,’” Turnes said.

Detectives testified Davonte Barnes was in his mother's silver Nissan with his cousin Darryl “Drac” Baker at the scene of the shooting on May 29, 2021, near El Mula Banquet Hall in Miami-Dade County. (Copyright 2023 by WPLG - All rights reserved.)

Barnes said he was with his cousin Darryl “Drac” Baker when he parked a silver Nissan belonging to his mother at the banquet hall’s strip mall on the late night of May 29, 2021.

Turnes said during her testimony in court that the suspects who fired at the crowd arrived in a black Nissan Altima, a white Nissan Path Finder, and a black Cadillac XT5.

Turnes also said Barnes, who is also known as “Dey Dey,” lied during the interrogation. At first, Barnes said the first time he had ever seen the white Nissan Path Finder was on television news.

Detectives testified the group had a silver Nissan that belonged to the defendant's mother, a black Nissan Altima, a white Nissan Path Finder, and a black Cadillac XT5. The jurors saw this image in Miami-Dade County court on Thursday. (Copyright 2023 by WPLG - All rights reserved.)

“May 17, you see him cleaning that vehicle,” Turnes said about surveillance video she said shows Barnes with the Nissan Path Finder.

Before the interrogation, detectives had already worked on the case for months to make correlations while analyzing evidence such as surveillance videos and cell phone records.

Turnes said Barnes identified both victims and suspects during the interrogation when he admitted to watching the crowd.

“He also says he is trying to blend in,” Turnes said.

Detectives presented a graphic depicting their analysis of cell phone data involving suspects of the El Mula Banquet Hall mass shooting on May 29, 2021, and May 30, 2021, in Miami-Dade County. (Copyright 2023 by WPLG - All rights reserved.)

Sgt. Sergio Cremisini, with homicide, followed Turnes’s testimony with a presentation. He showed the jury a timeline with graphics that included correlations with surveillance videos, maps, cell phone data, and suspects’ photos. He said there was a three-way call with “Savage” before the shooting.

Detectives identified the three killed outside of the banquet hall as Shaniqua Peterson, Desmond Owens, and Clayton Dillard III. Turnes said Owens had been the primary suspect in a prior murder.

Dr. Emma Lew, the former director of the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Department, also testified. She said one of the 20 victims lost their ability to walk and several of them required many surgeries.

“Mr. Owens had four gunshot wounds,” Lew said about one of the three killed.

The prosecution called two homicide detectives and a retired medical examiner to testify on Thursday in Miami-Dade County court. (Copyright 2023 by WPLG - All rights reserved.)

A woman in the courtroom’s gallery started to cry after Lew said a gunshot wound to the right side of the skull killed Peterson after she survived four days in hospital.

“It was a nonsurvivable wound,” Lew said.

Lew said the bullet stayed in the back of the left side of her brain, and she was able to recover it.

Warneric “Dula” Buckner — a former Norland Senior High School football player who was facing charges for another shooting that killed a 6-year-old girl — briefly faced charges for the shooting, but prosecutors later dropped the case due to insufficient evidence.

“We are still working the case,” Turnes said.

A detective showed jurors images to establish a connection between local gangster rap and the mass shooting at El Mula Banquet Hall on May 30, 2021, in Miami-Dade County. (Copyright 2023 by WPLG - All rights reserved.)

The prosecution also played a rap video posted on YouTube, on June 24, 2021, of the rapper “Savage” showing both Barnes and Buckner.

Prosecutors charged Barnes with three counts of first-degree murder and 20 counts of first-degree attempted murder, records show.

Barra told the judge Barnes underwent a tooth extraction at about 7 a.m., on Thursday ahead of his day in court. Barnes complained of pain. Tinkler Mendez said she learned the tooth extraction had been “initiated” by Barnes, who had access to pain medications, so she was not going to delay the trial.

After the prosecution rested, Tinkler Mendez said court was in recess until 9 a.m., on Friday.

Barnes faces the possibility of life in prison without parole. Tinkler Mendez announced a death penalty waiver before the trial started.

Watch the 12 p.m. report

Watch the 3:30 p.m. report

Watch the 5:30 p.m. report

Coverage of the trial archives: Related stories

About the Authors:

Liane Morejon is an Emmy-winning reporter who joined the Local 10 News family in January 2010. Born and raised in Coral Gables, Liane has a unique perspective on covering news in her own backyard.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.