ELYRIA – Shane Fischer said he saw Patrick Gall walking with Willie Fisher moments before Fisher was executed behind an Elyria shopping plaza July 6.
Fischer testified Wednesday in the jury trial of Gall, 19, of East Cleveland. Gall faces charges of aggravated murder, murder, felonious assault and tampering with evidence in connection to the slaying of Fisher.
Prosecutors have said that Gall and John Sullivan, 30, of East Cleveland, were paid $500 by Bruce Arnoff, 59, of Solon, to kill Fisher. While Sullivan was the one that shot Fisher, Gall led the victim to the spot behind the building where Sullivan was hiding, prosecutors have said.
Fischer said he was at a friend’s house next door to the shopping plaza the day Fischer was murdered. He testified that he spoke to both Fisher and Arnoff while the two did yardwork and cleanup work around the shopping plaza.
“I talked to them both together at the same time, in front of the little furniture store on the corner,” Fischer said. “I didn’t like the Arnoff guy because he was a jerk-off. He acted like he was better than everybody and whatever. I didn’t like him at all.”
Fischer said tried to be nice to Fisher, especially after Arnoff left him at the plaza. Fischer testified that Fisher had told him Arnoff had left to go to Mr. Hero to get them food, but when Arnoff didn’t return after an hour, Fisher became more and more agitated.
“I’d given him (Fisher) a cigarette. I was trying to be nice and asked him if he wanted a water. He declined the water and took the cigarette,” Fischer said. “Then he was on his phone just pacing back and forth, next to Convenient. Just back and forth to East Avenue to the back of Convenient to East Avenue, for at least 45 minutes. He was just looking at his phone like something crazy was going on with him.”
A few minutes later, Fischer said he saw Fisher walking with a man identified as Gall. The two walked along the side of the building and disappeared from Fischer’s view.
“As soon as they hit the back corner, all I heard was gunshots, you know?” Fischer said. “I was holding my buddy’s daughter, and I handed her off. I knew somebody was dead, just my instinct. I went back there and I seen the guy back there, face up.”
Fischer hadn’t wanted to testify in the trial and had to be brought in on a warrant to do so. He had been scheduled to testify on Tuesday, but he didn’t show up at the courthouse, prosecutors said.
Fischer then made arrangements to testify the following morning, but when he didn’t show up again on Wednesday, Judge John Miraldi issued the warrant for police to bring him in.
One of the owners of the shopping plaza, Musa Assad, and the owner of a daycare in the plaza, Maysoon Haq, both testified that Arnoff had made arrangements to take the hard drives out of the surveillance systems around the plaza. Assad testified that Arnoff had been afraid the cameras may have caught the murder.
Arnoff made arrangement to collect the hard drives the following day, July 7, which he did. However, police already had contacted Assad and Haq and viewed the video footage the day of the incident.
An officer with Elyria police testified that he and another officer were in a minivan across the street from the plaza and watched Arnoff go into various businesses in the plaza, collect hard drives and put them in the trunk of his car. Elyria police conducted a traffic stop of Arnoff’s car shortly after he left the plaza and seized the hard drives.
The surveillance video taken from the cameras in the plaza was shown to the jury Tuesday.
Testimony in the trial is scheduled to resume today at 9 a.m.
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