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Accused 13-Year-Old Killer Testifies in His Own Defense

Aired September 4, 2002 - 16:55   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: CNN has been watching a story in Florida: the trial of two young boys accused of murdering their father.
Joining us now is CNN's David Mattingly from Atlanta.

David, we understand one of the boys now testifying.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Judy.

At this hour, we're watching 13-year-old Alex King, the youngest of two brothers accused of killing their father in Pensacola last November. He's testifying in his own defense.

He's talking about the relationship he had with Rick Chavis, a family friend the brothers now say killed their father.

Chavis allegedly had a romantic relationship with Alex at the time of the murder and convinced him that his father was physically and mentally abusive.

Let's listen.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

JAMES STOKES, ATTORNEY FOR ALEX KING: Your dad wasn't home yet on that day, was he?

ALEX KING, DEFENDANT: No, sir, he wasn't.

STOKES: So he did not know that Ricky Chavis had picked you up, against his wishes, from school that day, did he?

KING: No, sir.

STOKES: How did your father find out that you had in fact been picked up by Ricky Chavis without his permission?

KING: Derek had left a cookbook in Rick's car by accident, in his trunk. And he had returned it to my dad. And I believe the school was the person that told him that Rick had gotten the cookbook. I think so.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: I don't know. It was either that or it might have been the note inside the book from school. But I don't really know how exactly he found out.

STOKES: Your father was quite upset about this, was he not?

KING: Yes, sir, he was.

STOKES: And did your father cut off all contact between you and Mr. Chavis -- in fact, you, Derek, and Mr. Chavis at this point?

KING: No, sir, not at that day. It was on the weekend.

He had told us -- well, Rick had come by on a Saturday and was like -- he spent the day with us. I really don't know why, but -- and then he had -- but the next day -- I don't really know -- remember much of what happened that day. We were just hanging out with Rick.

Then, on that Sunday, my dad said that that was going to be our last day that we'd see Rick, because he really couldn't trust him anymore, something like that, because of the fact that he'd gone -- that Rick had gone behind my dad's back and picked us up. So...

STOKES: Now, prior to that day, you had a key to Ricky Chavis' front gate, didn't you, prior to that day?

KING: Yes, sir.

STOKES: But you did not have a key to his house prior to that day, did you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (OFF-MIKE) leading nature.

JUDGE FRANK BELL, ESCAMBIA CIRCUIT COURT: Sustained.

STOKES: Did you have a key to the front gate?

KING: Yes, sir.

STOKES: When and how did you get the key to the front gate at Ricky Chavis' house?

KING: I don't know when, but Rick had given it to me.

STOKES: On the day that your father has told you that it would be the last time you see Mr. Chavis, did Ricky Chavis give you anything on that day?

KING: Yes, sir, he did.

We went over to his house for, like, a supper. Then Rick had taken me into the bedroom, like told me that if the -- if, all the stuff, fighting, abuse or whatever, had ever gotten so bad that we had to run away, that he gave me a key to his front door in case he wasn't home, and $20 to get there.

STOKES: And about a week-and-a-half later, did you and your brother run away from home?

KING: I don't know when it was, but, yes, we did run away after that.

STOKES: And did you run away because of the abuse or because you wished to have the freedoms and the privileges that Ricky Chavis was offering?

KING: Because I wanted to be with Rick and, yes, the stuff that he was -- like, he would let us smoke weed and, like, play his games and stuff, watch TV real late. And I wanted to be with Rick because of -- I was in love with Rick. So...

STOKES: You said Rick would allow you to smoke weed?

KING: Yes, sir.

STOKES: How would you smoke and where would you smoke marijuana at in Mr. Chavis' house?

KING: Well, sometimes my dad would drop us off there, but it was after me and Derek, when Derek would come back to live with us, but sometimes he'd drop us off there and that's whenever me, Rick, and Mike, and Derek would sometimes smoke weed. But it wasn't very much before we ran away and it was pretty close to the time we ran away.

STOKES: Would Rick allow you to drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes?

KING: Well, he wouldn't allow -- he didn't really allow alcohol in his house and as far as cigarettes go, well he didn't want us to smoke them but he didn't really stop us.

STOKES: And tell the jury about the video games and the TVs and the computers.

KING: What you mean to tell them, like what he would let us do or?

STOKES: Yes.

KING: OK. Whenever we went over to Rick's house, he would allow us to play his video game and we'd be able to watch TV sometimes whenever we spent the night and one time the power went out and we spent a long time there. We could watch TV as late as we wanted to, and well he had cable and stuff and so. And he would let us like go around his yard, like run around and stuff and I'd watch him work on things and stuff like that and we were pretty -- there was a lot of freedom there.

STOKES: And after Derek had come back to live with you, did Ricky Chavis ever say anything concerning killing your father?

KING: After Derek came back to live with us?

STOKES: Yes.

KING: Yes, he did. He said that -- he said that at one point, I do not know when, but he said that if things ever got so bad we had to kill our dad and he would have a place for us.

STOKES: Did you think things were that bad between your father and you?

KING: No, I thought they were pretty good. I love my dad and we spent a lot of time together and we had a lot of fun.

STOKES: Tell the jury some of the things you would do with your father.

KING: Well, we were working the yard and stuff and we would do the yard work together. That was fun, planting flower beds and things. We would clean the outside of the house and painting it and the inside of the house, we were sort of remodeling, cleaning out some areas in there. Going to work with my dad was fun. We would like go to his work (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and I talked to him there sometimes like. Sometime ago before he had a vehicle, we would like walk places that we went. I had fun.

STOKES: Where did your father get the vehicle from?

KING: The Tittles (ph), Joe and I've forgotten his wife but they sold us their van and I don't know how he got a blue car. I forgot what kind it was, but he got one.

STOKES: And yet you ran away from your father?

KING: Yes, sir. Rick had liked convinced me. I really don't know how or why I ran away but I wanted to be with him and I loved him but he kept telling me of like him about my dad. He was staring us down, like he didn't really appreciate me or understand me and stuff. And he said that -- he said that my dad, like we kept talking about punishments and spankings and things. I really don't -- I only remember three spankings in my life, but he kept talking about them.

STOKES: Now you just testified that you don't know how you ran away. You, in fact, know how you ran away don't you?

KING: Yes, sir I do know how I ran away.

STOKES: Tell the jury what you did when you ran away.

KING: Well, me and Derek got off the bus and we went to our house and like got a few things and then we ran down out of the driveway to the right and went down to an Easy Serve (ph) and I called Rick from a pay phone there and he told us to meet him at the railroad tracks that were a little ways further down the street, and around a curve to the left.

We came to some railroad tracks. We went down the right and waited for a while. He picked us up. From there, he took us to Harold May's (ph) house. I believe it was their house and we spent a few hours there. Then we ran from -- he called up somebody and we ran from there over to his house.

STOKES: Now during this week that you were runaways, were you aware that your father was frantically searching for you?

KING: I knew that he was looking for us, yes.

STOKES: Did he ever come over to Ricky Chavis' place looking for you?

KING: Yes sir, he did.

STOKES: And where were you...

WOODRUFF: That innocent-faced young boy is 13-year-old Alex King. He and his older brother are accused of murdering their father last November in Pensacola, Florida where this trial is being held.

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