In opening statements Tuesday, defense and prosecution attorneys presented starkly different versions of events in a Columbia murder case with gang overtones as the trial of Cola Fred Taylor got underway in a Richland County courtroom.
Taylor is accused of hunting down and killing Sintray Bell, 17, with two bullets to the head because Taylor, a Blood gang member, believed Bell to be a member of the Folk Nation gang, said prosecutor Meghan Walker before a jury hearing the case.
During an early morning encounter with Bell and two friends at the Greenview Apartments in Columbia on May 8, 2009, Taylor saw one of them wearing black and white beads around the neck.
"To the defendant, that signified the boy was a member of a criminal street gang called the Folk Nation," Walker told the jury. "The defendant is a Blood."
The youths traded insults and then fled in a car driven by other young men. Taylor and his friends followed in another car around the Greenview community.