Calvin W. Green Jr. said he’s heard Chimene Onyeri tell the same story over and over. Several witnesses have testified about hearing it themselves. Onyeri didn’t stop talking about it — even at a Waffle House, Green said.
“He was starting to talk about it, but then I nudged him,” Green, 28, said Wednesday as he testified on day 11 of Onyeri’s federal trial. Green said Onyeri likes to talk and sometimes you have to remind him, “Let’s just talk about this later. Not right now.”
Onyeri is accused of orchestrating the Nov. 6, 2015 assassination attempt against Travis County District Judge Julie Kocurek. She was shot outside her west Austin home after returning from a high school football game with three family members.
Green’s recollection of the story Onyeri told him included vivid details, like Onyeri getting impatient as he waited outside Kocurek’s home, trying to wave off her son with a gun, shooting her through a glass window as she sat in the passenger seat and watching her fall over the dashboard before running off and driving back to Houston.
“He was up all night, like, ‘Man, I don’t think I got her,’” Green testified about that Friday night in 2015.
Green testified for several hours Wednesday under a plea agreement for a conspiracy to commit wire fraud charge, which holds a maximum punishment of 20 years. Green also has a pending racketeering case out of Louisiana and said the judge in that case said he would dismiss it if he told the truth while testifying against Onyeri.
Green, who was animated at times as he testified, said he met Onyeri when he was 10 years old because he was a friend of his brother’s. They hung out and “kind of grew up together.”
Green admitted he lied to authorities after Austin Police Department detectives contacted him.
“I was protecting a friend,” Green said.
Green said he protected his friend once before when he took the fall for a case out of Fort Bend in which Onyeri said he would pay him in exchange. Green said he never got paid in the end.
At one point, Green said Onyeri asked him if he could charge an iPod and a bezel device used to skim cards at his place. In exchange, Green said he paid his rent of $550 nearly a dozen times.
Green became more involved after Onyeri stopped working with one of the drivers he used in the ATM operation because the person was always smoking weed while “working.” Green recalled Onyeri, complaining about not having a driver anymore, and he responded with “I got you.”
He said he started keeping a lookout for Onyeri while he placed skimming devices on ATMs. Green said he also would park across the street after the devices were placed and wait there for hours, counting how many customers pulled up to withdraw cash.
After some former associates were arrested for running a similar scheme, Green said Onyeri hired a lawyer to keep up with their cases and started researching federal conviction rates. Green said Onyeri worked hard and did his research if it was something he wanted.
“His mind worked brilliant,” Green said.
Green said he learned everything he knows about credit and debit card skimming from Onyeri and that Onyeri was supposed to pay him 10 percent of whatever they earned. But, Green said, during an operation where they obtained $40,000, he only received $2,000 — a five percent cut.
Eventually, Green said he stopped working for Onyeri after getting put on probation. Green said he didn’t want to be associated with anything that could get him in further trouble.
Even though they no longer skimmed cards together, Green said they were still on good terms in fall 2015, hanging out to play games and talk basketball. They even debated if iPhones or Androids were better. Onyeri preferred Androids, Green testified.
Green said sometime in 2015, Onyeri was mad at a judge that wanted to give him “the long d— of the law” with up to 10 years of jail time for violating his probation.
Green said they talked about the judge on two or three occasions, and he recalled him saying “I’mma show this b—- who she’s’ f—— with… Gun her down.”
When asked how he learned Kocurek had been shot, Green said, “’Chimno’ told me.”
He said it was a Friday night and Onyeri called him saying he was finally going to pay him for taking the fall for the case Green was on probation for. Green said the only reason he went over there was for the money, but Onyeri didn’t pay him.
Instead, Green said Onyeri had been telling another associate that was with him a story. When Green arrived, Onyeri restarted the story and said he had been following a judge for weeks and knew her routine, Green testified.
“He was mad that he didn’t get her,” Green said.
Green said he remembered a moment shortly after when he accidentally rolled over and his hand touched something that turned out to the be the barrel of a gun. He said Onyeri told him to be careful because he broke down a gun and still had some of the parts.
Green and Onyeri continued to talk with one another even after Onyeri was arrested. As a jail phone call between the two was played in the courtroom, Green talked about how they talked in code.
Green can be heard telling Onyeri, “they on my row.” He explained that was his way of warning Onyeri an Austin Police Department detective contacted him.
Green, telling Onyeri not to worry because he has his back, went on to say, “they talking to everybody.”
Green said, using code, he tried to tell Onyeri that his cousin tipped off police about the shooting, and told Onyeri not to contact her, but he’s not sure if Onyeri understood.
“These people lying on me again,” Onyeri can be heard saying at one point on the tape. Green testified that they knew their conversation was being recorded and talked as if they weren’t involved with any crimes.
In addition to Green, five other people testified Wednesday, including an attorney whose client was housed in the same jail cell block as Onyeri in September 2016, as well as two Travis County Sheriff’s Office employees, one current and one former, who spoke about their role in during a jail cell shakedown in search of items related to a tip from the other inmate.
Attorney Novert Morales said one of his clients, Jonathon Tran, approached him saying he had information that would be helpful. They both agreed that they needed to contact the U.S Attorney’s Office with the information he had and presented the attorneys, FBI and a detective with the Austin Police Department with an original handwritten note that Tran obtained while he was in jail.
The prosecution read portions of the handwritten note aloud. It included phrases like “just don’t talk to nobody,” “let them know that I will sign any affidavit, 100 percent real, that you know nothing about nothing,” and in a reference to officials, “They twist up words. Don’t trust no (sic) of them.”
It was never firmly stated who wrote the note or who produced it, but it contained the name of Onyeri and several of his associates, as well as phone numbers.
The pages appeared to be torn from a book. Officer Benny Castro of the Travis County Sheriff’s Office testified that his supervisor, then-Sgt. Dan Lefco, said they obtained a search warrant in an effort to find “corroborating evidence.”
Castro said he conducted a shakedown of cells and was told to make it seem like any other typical shakedown.
“Sgt. Lefco had a photocopy of a dedication page from a book and I was tasked with finding the book it came out of. There was no page number. It was clearly torn,” Castro testified.
The search was successful and he found a jail library book with torn pages that matched the pages of the handwritten note, Castro testified.
Lefco said he believes Onyeri passed a note to Tran while they were housed in the same cell block between Sept. 24 and Sept. 27 of 2016.
The trial will be in recess until Monday morning when it will resume at 9 a.m. Follow KXAN.com for updates.
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