An admitted marijuana dealer and recovering addict who previously spent up to $500 a day on his drug habit testified Wednesday that Brandon Torres fired a gunshot after robbing him in an Old Bethpage park.
Torres, 25, of Staten Island, is standing trial in Nassau County Court on second-degree murder, robbery and weapon charges after the deadly encounter in Haypath Park.
Prosecutors have alleged Torres opened fire about 11 p.m. on July 6, 2019, while carrying out a drug rip-off that left one of his four accomplices dead. They’ve alleged he tried to shoot marijuana dealer Dimitri Filacouris but hit an unintended target: Stefon Pierre.
A bullet lodged in the spine of Pierre, 23, of Queens, fatally injuring him while he was serving as one of the robbery lookouts, according to authorities.
“I saw a flash, heard it,” Filacouris testified Wednesday about the gunshot.
“The other kid had dropped to the floor and screamed ‘Bro, you shot me! Bro, you shot me!'" added Filacouris, 24.
The prosecution witness said he quickly checked himself for any wounds and then sprinted out of the park.
Filacouris, who works as an auto technician, said he spoke to his father and his attorney and smoked marijuana before going to talk to police later that night.
The witness testified he went to the park to sell a pound of marijuana to acquaintance Kion Carter after they made arrangements through Snapchat.
But Filacouris said Torres pointed a gun in his face before Carter and Torres took his backpack full of marijuana. Then they rifled through his pockets and tossed his car keys and phone out of reach before the encounter took an even more serious turn, according to the witness.
Carter “was like, ‘Shoot him! Shoot him!’ in a very evil voice,” the witness said, recalling what unfolded near a park maintenance shed.
Filacouris said he tried to calm the situation, repeating “You don’t gotta do that,” before Carter and Torres started to flee and he saw another man run in front of him.
Then Torres turned, pointed a gun and let a bullet fly before that other man immediately dropped to the ground, Filacouris testified during questioning by prosecutor Michelle Lewisohn.
Police charged Filacouris with second-degree criminal possession of marijuana in the deadly shooting’s aftermath. But testimony indicated Wednesday that authorities reduced his charge later to a lesser felony when the seized marijuana weighed less than a pound.
Filacouris said during his direct examination that the Nassau District Attorney’s Office hadn’t made him any promises about how his drug charge would be resolved.
But the witness acknowledged during cross-examination by Torres’ attorney, Jeffrey Groder, that he had signed an agreement with prosecutors consenting to be debriefed in the homicide case with the hope they would make him a plea offer on the drug charge.
Filacouris also admitted to Groder that at one point he said in grand jury testimony he wasn’t sure where he’d been looking when he saw a flash from the gun. He agreed that was “essentially the opposite” of what he had testified to earlier Wednesday by saying he saw Torres fire the gunshot.
The prosecution witness admitted he was under the influence, likely of oxycodone, when he testified before the grand jury. Filacouris also told Groder he was having drug withdrawal symptoms when he picked Torres out of a police photo array as the shooter — but he was "positive" about his choice.
The witness also insisted that while he was under the influence of Percocet that night in the park, it didn’t impact how he perceived things then.
Last week, alleged lookout and getaway driver Patricia Quilliam, 22, testified for the prosecution under a cooperation deal. The deal could lead to a sentence of probation and jail time served after her guilty plea to attempted robbery.
Carter, 28, is serving a 14-year sentence for the robbery. A robbery charge remains pending against Charles Spinella, another alleged park lookout. He was 17 at the time of his arrest and pleaded not guilty.