She lowered her head, sobbed, mumbled and avoided eye contact with her cousin and the lawyers peppering her with questions.
But Meosha Menzies hesitantly testified Tuesday that Timothy Herring admitted to her that he killed Chicago Police Officer Michael Flisk and a former CHA cop they knew from the neighborhood as “Sweet Pea.”
“He [Herring] told me he did it,” said Menzies, 24, her back hunched on the stand. “He told me he shot them, two men in an alley.”
Menzies often told Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Joseph Magats that she didn’t recall what Herring had told her about the deadly Nov. 26, 2010, shootings in the 8100 block of South Burnham Avenue.
But when pressed, Menzies gave halting, one-word answers, confirming that Herring told her how he put a bullet in his victims’ heads and then came back to shoot Stephen Peters again when he saw him move.
Weeks before the double murder, Menzies said Herring told her that he wanted to steal the stereo system from Peters’ burgundy Mustang.
“He mentioned he wanted to hit him for his sounds,” Menzies said.
Flisk, 46, and Peters, 44, were gunned down while Flisk was investigating the burglary of car parts from Peters’ mother’s garage.
Menzies, who described Herring as almost like a brother, said she asked him if he had anything to do with the murders.
“Calm down,” her cousin told her before confessing, Menzies said.
When Menzies later asked Herring why he had pulled the trigger, he allegedly “kept shaking his head, saying, ‘man, man.’ ”
Menzies’ two-hour testimony was often hard to decipher, leading Judge Mary Margaret Brosnahan to order her to “speak up” or repeat herself.
Assistant Public Defender Julie Koehler was more blunt in trying to get Menzies to talk clearly.
“You don’t want to be here, do you, and lie on your cousin? If you sit up and talk into the microphone, we can all get out of here,” the defense attorney said in a booming voice.
Menzies said she initially lied to detectives about what Herring told her “because she wanted no part in this.”
She said she eventually changed her story when she was threatened with a lie detector test.
Menzies’ sister was even more reluctant to speak with prosecutors, who had called on the siblings to testify against Herring, 24.
“I don’t remember,” Eboni Garrett, 24, said when Magats went over her grand jury testimony and a videotaped statement in which she allegedly spoke of the murders and the reward money offered for the shooter’s arrest.
Earlier Tuesday, Diamond Owens, 21, testified that Herring looked “shaken and scared” after jumping in her cousin’s car after the murders.
As they drove away, Owens said she saw two people “lying on the ground.”
Later, Owens said she saw Herring with a weapon. He then told Owens and her cousin what he had done, she said.
Herring’s ex-girlfriend also testified that he had confessed to shooting Flisk and Peters.