Raleigh man describes 'fight for life' during home invasion
Posted March 25, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — A gunshot wound to the middle of a Raleigh man's back came close to being a fatal wound, with the bullet being lodged just centimeters from his heart, according to testimony Tuesday in the trial of one of the two men accused of shooting him during a home invasion early last year.
Jason Beyer, 35, had been hit in the tenth thoracic vertebra during a struggle with the two masked men who, minutes earlier, had sexually assaulted his wife in their home in the city's historic Oakwood neighborhood.
Worried for his wife and not about to let her be harmed further, Beyer testified Tuesday, he launched himself onto the taller of the two and wrestled him from the hallway of the home into the kitchen.
The second man – much shorter – then joined in the fight, giving Beyer's wife a chance to run to a neighbor's house for help.
"I'm fighting for my life at that point," Beyer told jurors in the trial of 27-year-old Jahaad Tariem Allah Marshall, recalling how he tried using the taller of the two men as a shield to protect himself.
The next thing Beyer knew, he had been shot.
"I felt the gun to my back," he said. "My legs went out, so I don't recall hearing the gunshot."
Marshall, who authorities say was the shorter of the two men, faces 23 charges – including attempted first-degree murder, sexual offense, burglary and kidnapping – in the Jan. 7, 2013, home invasion, as well as three other burglaries in the two weeks prior to Beyer's shooting.
Beyer remembered Tuesday being shocked and terrified and then seeing them climb with bags through an open window in the kitchen.
"They just kind of stepped over me," Beyer said. "They weren't too concerned with me at that point."
Worried they would return, Beyer said, he tried dragging himself across the kitchen floor to close the window, but he couldn't get up to close it. His breathing had also become labored.
Within moments, paramedics arrived and took him to WakeMed, where trauma surgeon Dr. Lori Lilley found significant blood in his left lung as well as bullet fragments.
"We knew right away he was paraplegic," Lilley testified. "Going to the (operating room) wasn't going to make him better."
Marshall and his 17-year-old brother, Shabar Marshall, were arrested the same morning following a chase – with speeds up to 80 mph – throughout southeast Raleigh.
Jahaad Marshall's defense attorney contends the state has no DNA, fingerprints or other physical evidence linking his client to the crimes and that no one could positively identify him as a suspect.
But the state says a neighbor's description helped police track the brothers' car, and police found Beyer's wallet 30 feet from Jahaad Marshall when they arrested him, and other items from the home were in the car.
Two guns stolen from two of the earlier burglaries were found along the route of the chase, and items stolen from the crimes were found in a hotel room where the Marshall brothers stayed.
The Oakwood home invasion was also similar to one eight days earlier on Sherry Drive in which a man awoke to two masked men in his bedroom. They stunned him and his wife with a stun gun, forced them to lie face-down on the floor and moved them around the home at gunpoint looking for cash and other valuables.
Similar to Beyer’s testimony, the victims in that case said the men became increasingly frustrated when they learned there was not much to take.
Beyer said Tuesday that he was compliant in an effort to get the men to leave as quickly as possible.
"Giving things away wasn't an issue – whatever could get them to leave sooner," he said.
But there was one item he wasn't willing to give up, he said.
"At some point, when I was on the floor when no one was looking, I slipped (my wedding ring) off my hand and put it into the laundry next to me," Beyer said. "It was the one sentimental piece I was hoping to keep."