Day 9: Onyeri associate tells judge ‘sorry’ after testifying Monday morning

Sketch - Chimene Onyeri - Day 2

As she stepped down from the witness stand and headed out of a federal courtroom Monday morning, Andronesia Harding walked past Travis County District Judge Julie Kocurek, looked in her direction and said, “I’m so sorry.” 

Harding had jurors in Chimene Onyeri’s trial chuckling at times as she defiantly answered questions from his defense, responding with phrases like “let’s get to the point,” and “go ahead, I got all day.”

Harding and her brother, Marquis Jones, are the latest to testify that Onyeri told them he was mad at a judge in Austin and later upset that he “missed” and she was “alive.”

Onyeri is accused of orchestrating the 2015 assassination attempt of Kocurek. He was wanted in Travis County for violating his probation in connection with a case in Kocurek’s courtroom.

Harding testified several hours before Jones and recalled a conversation Onyeri had with her brother prior to the shooting when Onyeri told him to Google a name. She testified her brother said the name of the person he googled is a judge. Harding said she didn’t know if the judge was male or female because he only referred to the judge as “that b—-.”

Referring to him as “Chimno” throughout her testimony, Harding recalled a later date when Onyeri was “upset to the max” and “highly pissed,” saying things like “She’s alive” and “I can’t believe I missed.”

Harding, who also described Onyeri as “very hyperactive,” said she didn’t hear anything about the judge being shot until two or three days after it happened, when people kept asking her questions about it.

She said she didn’t realize the reality of what happened at first because “in my mind, he’s just talk.”

She recalled a conversation she had with Onyeri after he was arrested, where she asked him what was going on and he said everything is going to be OK.

Jones’ account is similar to Harding’s and the others who have testified about that night. Jones said he wasn’t aware that Onyeri had a criminal case against him until about two years ago when he visited his home and was “pissed” about a judge that wanted to give him a six- or seven-year sentence.

Jones said Onyeri visited him the next day and out of nowhere, showed him a Google map of the judge’s home.

“I guess it was just on his mind,” Jones said.

He said Onyeri didn’t talk about a gun when he was showing him the Google map. But, Jones said he did see a gun in a box he was keeping for Onyeri in the truck of a car that was stored in his garage.

Jones recalled Onyeri saying he was going to have two “homeboys” with him, as well as a rental card.

As with other witnesses, the prosecution asked Jones about his text message exchanges with Onyeri regarding the shooting. Jones said he got a text from Onyeri with an emoji of a bullet coming out of a gun as well as Kocurek’s name. Jones said he responded with a “strong arm” emoji, signifying “right on.”

“I didn’t want him to think I was against what he was doing,” Jones testified.

Either that night or the following night, Jones said Onyeri came to his home in Katy for a few hours and as they were playing video games, Onyeri kept saying, “I missed that b—-.” Jones asked Onyeri what he was talking about and says Onyeri explained that “he didn’t get a direct hit, like the bullet ricocheted.”

“He was pissed. He was mad,” Jones testified.

Outside of his appearance as a witness on Monday, Jones said he hasn’t seen Onyeri since that night. But, another Onyeri associate did visit Jones’ home within weeks of his arrest to retrieve a brown box.

Jones said he let Onyeri store the box in a vehicle in his garage, saying the box contained credit and debit cards used during the operation, and at one point had a gun it in. In exchange, Jones said Onyeri paid his rent.

Days before someone retrieved the box, Onyeri said in a jail phone with his cousin, “Beebs” that he had about $80,000 in cards.

Jurors listened to a lengthy portion of the call where Onyeri complained he had been in jail for two weeks already. Onyeri did most of the talking during the portion of the jail call that was played, saying things like “thank you for really f—ing me over,” “it’s my life on the line,” “this is some real s— man” and “I’m really hurt, bro. I’m hurt.”

Both Harding and Jones said they helped Onyeri with his illegal money-making operation at some point and face conspiracy to commit wire fraud charges of their own.

Harding said she approached Onyeri a few years ago when she needed extra money. She said after Onyeri “researched” her loyalty, she started using skimmed credit cards to purchase and return merchandise for cash.

She said she bought and/or returned high-value merchandise at Walmart stores between 10 to 20 times while Onyeri waited in a car in the parking lot. At first, she went in normal clothing, but Onyeri later presented her with a pink burqa and black headscarf which she used to cover everything except her eyes.

Harding said sometimes Onyeri would pay her once she returned the merchandise and had cash in hand, but other times she’d get paid later. She said it was up to Onyeri’s discretion in terms of when and how much she would get paid.

Harding said she also sometimes let him use her vehicle as she went to ATMs with Onyeri to be a lookout or to check account balances and get anywhere from $100 to $1,000 in cash from other individuals’ accounts, depending on what their bank’s limit was.

Harding, who also testified Thursday afternoon, was on the stand for over an hour Monday morning.

Her attitude shifted once the defense began questioning her. She was short, responding with one-word answers whenever she could. When the defense asked her about dealings with an individual other than Onyeri, she kept questioning why they were asking her about someone else since Onyeri is the one on trial.

The defense asked Harding if she’s refusing to answer their question, to which she responded, “Go ahead with your question.”

Onyeri’s defense also questioned how many times Harding has spoken with the prosecution, to which she said she couldn’t recall.

When they asked about when she first met with the prosecution, she said since they “busted” through the doors and “raided” her house in Katy.

The defense asked Harding if she was scared she was going to get in trouble, she said no because, “I felt like I thought I had a friend that wouldn’t put me in harm’s way.”

Her brother said he served as a lookout for Onyeri between 15 and 20 times as Onyeri would place skimming devices and cameras on ATMs across town. 

Jones said he was never paid to keep lookout. Instead, Jones said, “he sold me dreams.”

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