They patted the man inside down for drugs, but found nothing, Reynolds said.
When they got back in the car, Smith and Reynolds realized they still had the woman's keys.
They drove back to her apartment and tried to talk to her. She simultaneously offered to get them drugs, and accused Smith and Reynolds of being police officers, Reynolds said.
"It starts to be an argument about who's doing what," Reynolds testified.
'Shots rang out'
It's at that point, with two failed drug deals and another failed drug bust behind them, that Michael Martin comes onto the scene.
According to Martin, who did not testify at the trial, the officers approached and asked him if he knew where they could find some drugs, said Dewitt Daniel, the Greenbrier County public defender who handled Martin's first trial.
"He doesn't have a dollar on him, no drugs, cell phone, nothing," Daniel said. "He says the cops approached him and offered $100 if he could find something. He has to borrow the cop's cell phone to make the call."
Reynolds testified that Martin approached the two off-duty officers.
Martin agreed to get the two men drugs and got in the Jeep with Reynolds, Smith and Gonzales. He led them to the end of Willow Lane at South Street, where he says he knew someone who could sell them crack.
At a stoplight, Reynolds testified, he tried to get Martin to get out of the car, but Martin wouldn't go.
Sitting in the Jeep at the end of Willow Lane is where Reynolds got a really bad feeling about what was about to happen.
The drug transaction was to take place at the bottom of a flight of stairs, on steps leading from a house down to the street, said Gregory L. Ayers, the Kanawha County public defender who is handling the new trial.
As Martin and Reynolds approached the stairs, Reynolds could see a shadowy figure on the landing above them.
"I knew something had gone wrong. I didn't know what happened because there was a quick confrontation of words right before this and then, you know he pulled the badge and then shots rang out," Reynolds said at the trial.
Martin claims Smith was shot after an exchange of words with Leftwich, Ayers said.
"At some point during this exchange, Smith pulls out his badge and says, 'Now you're going to jail,'" Ayers said.
Reynolds ran to Smith and pulled him away from the landing. The shadowy figure - Thomas Leftwich - escaped and Reynolds was left to comfort his dying friend, who had been shot in the chest.
At Martin's trial, West Virginia State Police Capt. Scott VanMeter was asked by Raleigh County prosecutor Kristin Keller whether Gonzales and Reynolds were credible witnesses. He twice answered with one word: "Yes."
The state Supreme Court ruled that VanMeter's testimony that Gonzales and Reynolds were telling the truth was impermissible, that allowing that testimony had biased the jury in Martin's case.
Raleigh County Circuit Judge Harry L. Kirkpatrick III should not have allowed Keller's questions because the credibility of witnesses is up to the jury, not expert witnesses, to decide, the court wrote in its opinion.
"No trial is a perfect trial. We try as hard as we can," Keller said Thursday. "It's up to the Supreme Court to decide if something had an impact on the jury's decision. That's the Supreme Court's call and we have to deal with it. ... What was very important to us and very important to law enforcement was that the actual direct perpetrator [Leftwich], the person that actually shot, was convicted of life without mercy."
Keller, who has worked in the office since 1983 and prosecuted Martin's first trial, will handle the retrial herself.
A 2003 study by the Center for Public Integrity found five cases tried by Keller and later appealed to the state Supreme Court in which a defendant alleged prosecutorial misconduct or error. In two of those cases, the court ruled that her conduct unfairly harmed the defendant; in three, they ruled that her conduct was a harmless error and didn't prejudice the defendant
In addition to the Martin case, one other case alleging error or misconduct by Keller has gone to the Supreme Court since 2003. Another is set to go to the high court in January.
Reach Gary Harki at gha...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.