Natasha Colbert saw the boy twice in her life – once when he came with her daughters to visit and once when he lay dying on her back porch.
“I heard four or five shots,” she testified Wednesday. “Then I heard more shots. … I couldn’t believe it. … I just kept staring at him.”
Zaevion Dobson, 15, died that night from a single bullet that punctured his lung. Colbert and Dobson’s family relived those moments during Wednesday’s testimony as the trial continued for the three men accused in the shooting that killed him.
The mother had to leave the courtroom at one point when the sight of her son’s shirt sent her into tears.
Dobson, a 15-year-old Fulton High School sophomore and football player, was walking home from a basketball game with friends in Lonsdale Homes the night of Dec. 17, 2015, when gunmen opened fire on the crowd. Dobson died shielding two teenage girls from gunshots, police said.
His sacrifice propelled him to national recognition, including ESPN’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award and a tribute from President Barack Obama during a speech on gun violence.
Christopher Drone Bassett, 22, Richard Gregory Williams III, 23, and Kipling Colbert Jr., 22, are standing trial in Knox County Criminal Court on charges that include first-degree murder and eight counts of attempted murder in Dobson’s death. Williams already has been convicted of shooting a witness in the case for “snitching” on him.
For Dobson’s mother, Zenobia, the memory proved all too fresh. She burst out weeping at the sight of the shirt he wore the night he died.
Criminal Court Judge Steve Sword called a brief recess as relatives ushered the mother outside. He denied a defense request for a mistrial.
“I think everyone understands a mother’s grief,” the judge said.