Read the story of a Boise double murder

Samari Winn, accused of helping carry out the crime, will face felony aiding and abetting charges in district court.

sberg@idahostatesman.comJune 5, 2014 

Samari Winn

— Jeanette Juraska’s emotions came out Thursday even before she saw pictures of the two men shot to death in Boise the night of May 8.

“Oh gosh,” she said when Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Shelley Akamatsu asked a bailiff to hand her state’s exhibits 16 and 17. Then, she started crying as she identified the men in the photos as Travontae Calloway, her boyfriend, and Elliott Bailey.

From a legal perspective, Thursday’s preliminary hearing in the case against Samari Winn was important because Ada County Magistrate Theresa Gardunia found enough evidence of Winn’s involvement to move the case to district court.

But for the public, the hearing had a different significance. For the first time Thursday, details came out about what happened the night Calloway and Bailey died. Juraska was by far the most important of the eight witnesses who testified.

A TRAGIC BIRTHDAY

Calloway died the day he turned 27. Before the shooting, Juraska bought him some new clothes at the mall. They mostly stayed in their apartment at 2178 S. Orchard St., where they’d lived since February.

Calloway smoked cigarettes and drank some Hennessey, later some vodka, later some tequila. His best friend, Bailey, stopped by. Winn, an acquaintance who showed up every so often at the house or at Quinn’s Restaurant and Lounge on Vista Avenue, brought over a bottle of 1800 tequila.

Juraska, who met Calloway during a visit to Boise about a year earlier, said she mostly kept to herself on the second floor while the guys drank and talked “about females, whatever” and watched the NFL draft. She said Winn, who she knows as “Russ,” asked if the guys wanted to go to a strip club.

After a while, Juraska said, Winn left, saying he’d be back by 11:20 p.m. to go out. Juraska ordered pizza. She, Calloway and Bailey took a shot of peach vodka — the first drink she gave him the day they met — and they sat down in the living room.

Sometime after taking the shot, at about 11:20, the doorbell rang. Juraska said she answered, thinking it was the pizza man. The door doesn’t have a peephole.

Juraska said she saw Winn was at the door. So far, this is the key point in the case — the testimony that puts Winn at the scene of the crime.

Juraska said she stepped up on the stairs to get out of the way of the opening door. She said another man, who was wearing a beanie hat and a hoodie, pushed Winn out of the way. He was holding a gun, she said.

“And the gun just went off,” she said.

“Who was it pointed at?” Akamatsu asked.

Juraska: “Into the living room.”

Akamatsu: “Who was in the living room when the gun went off?”

“Travontae Calloway and Elliott Bailey,” Juraska said, crying.

She said the gunman fired more than once, then turned the gun on her as she fled up the stairs toward the second-floor bedrooms and laundry room. He shot at her and a bullet hit the back of her left arm. She said it burned.

“I continued to move up the staircase and another shot went off and I felt it pass me,” Juraska said.

The shooting stopped once she reached the top of the stairs, she said. She stayed there a few minutes before she went downstairs, holding her wounded arm. She said she saw Bailey face-down in the kitchen. His eyes blinked and his legs were twitching.

Calloway was on the floor too. He dragged himself toward her, telling her “to call 911. We’ve all been shot.”

“He told me, ‘Everything’s going to be OK,’” she said. “Those were his last words to me.”

LAST REQUEST

Boise Police Officer Dan Muguira was the first officer through the door. He said Calloway was on his back on the living room floor. Calloway’s feet were on the small couch. A pool of his blood collected on the carpet beneath him.

Bailey was a few feet away, Muguira said, trying to stand up. He collapsed in the fetal position a few feet to the left of Calloway.

Muguira said he rode to the hospital with Calloway, who wouldn’t answer any questions about what had happened. Calloway kept asking for water and a cold rag.

Both men died shortly after that.

At first, Juraska told officers and 911 dispatchers she didn’t recognize either of the men at the door. Thursday, though, she said she was pretty sure she’d seen the man with the gun before, perhaps during a week in October when she went with Winn and two other men to a marijuana farm in the northern California forest. While she was there, she helped trim leaves off marijuana plants, she said. The gunman sat across from her and never told her his name.

Randall Barnum, Winn’s attorney, asked her why she changed her story about recognizing the shooter and Winn. She said she was afraid they would come kill her.

“I don’t believe her,” Barnum said after the hearing. “It strikes me as unusual that someone who calls 911 would have the wherewithal to think about the danger of identifying the shooter.”

CONFUSING DETAILS

The story has some oddities. Two witnesses who were nearby that night said they heard somewhere around six shots. Officers who raided Winn’s home the next day said they found a case made for an HK .45-caliber pistol and several packaged ammunition magazines that hold as many as eight rounds. But police said they found 10 shell casings at the scene, all of which had “Federal .45 auto” embossed on them.

One of the witnesses, a man who lives nearby and was watching “Breaking Bad” at the time of the shooting, said he saw two men running away from the apartment and jumping in a white cargo van that drove away south on Orchard. He said he was 95 percent sure one of the men, the shorter one, was white. Winn is black and prosecutors say the shooter is, too.

When police raided Winn’s home, Akamatsu said, they found evidence that led to marijuana trafficking charges against his roommate, Anton Raider, who is white. The white cargo van investigators believe was the getaway vehicle is registered in Raider’s name, and the gun case police found was in his room.

Investigators have also kept quiet about the motive behind the murders of Calloway and Bailey.

Meanwhile, police are still looking for the man who did the shooting. Akamatsu wouldn’t say whether she knows the name of that man.

Gardunia said Juraska’s testimony was reason enough to believe that Winn played a role in the murders. Winn’s first hearing in district court is scheduled for June 12.

“There’s nothing else (besides Juraska’s testimony) that ties my client to that murder,” Barnum said. “If she doesn’t testify, my client is free right now, because no one can place him at the scene of the crime.”

Sven Berg: 377-6275

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