Donnell Flora admitted Friday that he gave a gun to his teen-age niece before she allegedly shot and killed 14-year-old Endia Martin.
But Flora also said he told his 14-year-old niece to give the .38-caliber revolver to her “auntie” as they made their way to confront the teenagers who had been harassing the girl on Facebook.
Flora said he had repeatedly refused his bullied, crying niece’s requests for a weapon on April 28, 2014.
“I said, ‘I am not giving you a gun,'” Flora said, mumbling.
Flora, paralyzed from the waist down from a 2010 shooting, did say, however, that he packed the gun as backup as he and others made their way to the girl fight in the 900 block of West Garfield.
Endia Martin / Sun-Times files
Flora said he gave the gun to his niece and saw her give it to his cousin, Vandetta Redwood. Redwood, Flora said, could potentially protect the teenager if she got into hot water.
Flora, 27, is on trial for Endia’s murder and the attempted murder of Lanekia Reynolds, a friend of Endia’s who was wounded in the shooting.
Flora’s niece, now 16, is awaiting trial at Juvenile Court.
In court on Thursday, Cook County prosecutors had presented a video recording of Flora’s interrogation. In it, he was heard telling detectives he didn’t see Redwood at the scene of the crime.
On Friday, Flora explained to his attorney Joel Brodsky that he didn’t want to snitch on Redwood at the time, because she “had a family and kids.”
“I didn’t want to get her [Redwood] in trouble,” Flora said, testifying from his wheelchair that was placed in front of the witness stand in Judge Thaddeus Wilson’s courtroom.
Mob action and obstruction of justice charges were filed against Redwood but were eventually dismissed.
Redwood testified Thursday but invoked the Fifth Amendment when asked about her connection to the deadly incident. Defense attorneys said it was she who egged the accused shooter by demanding that she “shoot the bitch.”
Flora, on Friday, said he was “hurt” that his niece — whom he has raised since his brother was killed in a shooting — would pull the trigger.
“I never thought she would do that,” Flora said.
During cross-examination, Assistant State’s Attorney Athena Farmakis lambasted Flora for thinking it was “OK” to hand a weapon over to a minor.
“I don’t think it’s OK, but in my neighborhood you see 14- and 15-year-olds running around with guns everyday,” Flora said.
“Didn’t it occur to you that maybe, you should tell a 14-year-old, ‘Why don’t you stay back home and not enter into a confrontation?'” Farmakis asked.
“No,” Flora replied.
Flora said he was far away from the commotion and didn’t hear the shots when they rang out.
But when he saw people scurrying, he rolled away.
Farmakis asked why Flora didn’t stick around.
“What if your niece had gotten shot?” Farmakis wondered, before asking if Flora left “… because you were only concerned about yourself?”
Wilson asked jurors to return to the Leighton Criminal Courthouse Saturday morning for closing arguments.