Marley Lion's mother called as witness during day 1 of trial

By Stacy

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Solicitor Scarlett Wilson promised to prove Ryan Deleston killed Marley Lion in her opening statement at his trial for murder Tuesday.

"What the evidence in this case is going to show is not what could've or might've been, but who it was," she said.

Wilson's star witnesses are the other men police said were involved in the robbery-turned-murder that left Marley Lion, 17, dead next to his SUV outside Famous Joe's bar in West Ashley.

"The hand of one is the hand of all," Wilson said during opening statements.

The witnesses have extensive criminal backgrounds, as she told the jurors. But, she argued they have no reason not to tell the truth. Deleston's attorney Ashley Pennington disagreed. He pointed out Bryan Rivers and Julius Brown have agreed to plea bargains where they pleaded guilty to manslaughter. In exchange, they are testifying against their friend, Deleston. Pennington told the jurors that the accomplices "are not worthy of [the jurors'] belief."

"They need a scapegoat who they could say did the shooting," Pennington said.

After opening statements, the state called its first witness: Marley Lion's mother, Elizabeth Paige. She told the jury she never saw her son the day before he died and still hadn't heard from him when she woke up the next morning.

"Before we ate [breakfast] we said a prayer. We said, 'Let us hear from Marley, find out what's going on with Marley. Let us hear from Marley.' Like five minutes later was Detective Burkhart. They were there to tell us what happened," she said in court.

The state also showed photos of Lion after he was shot; he's lying on the ground with bruises. A police officer testified he was going in and out of consciousness.

Julius Brown was the last witness to testify Tuesday. Brown already pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the Lion case. In court, Brown narrated the surveillance video that officials said showed Deleston approaching Lion's SUV to rob him.

Brown said after Deleston tried to rob Lion, he was walking away from the vehicle. As the alarm was sounding, Brown testified he told his friend to "bust the window" of Lion's car. Instead, Brown testified Deleston turned and fired five shots at Lion.

The officer who found Lion also testified that Lion told him he was shot fives times while he drifted in and out of consciousness.

By pleading guilty to manslaughter, Brown avoided the possibility of life in prison and instead will serve up to 30 years.

The trial continues Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.