Defense calls surprise witness in retrial of convicted cop kille - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Defense calls surprise witness in retrial of convicted cop killer

(WMC-TV) - A surprise witness took the stand in the Timothy McKinney retrial Friday.

McKinney was convicted of killing off duty Memphis police officer Don Williams in 1997 outside a comedy club.

The state had rested, but the defense called Lester Bibbs, who was the comedian at the comedy club the night of the shooting.

Bibbs said he specifically remembers McKinney after 15 years.

"He and another guy had on a really ugly sweater," said Bibbs.

The multi-colored sweater worn by McKinney was presented, along with a club picture taken that night.

Bibbs' testimony was key for the defense after he testified that another man than McKinney had been kicked out of the club and was making threats.

"He said, 'I will f you up,'" said Bibbs.

Bibbs said the police never spoke to him and he did not go to police with statements.

"I was living in LA at the time and I heard on the news that they had got the guy," said Bibbs.

The defense presented a photo of the man Bibbs claims threatened him in the club and said he is the real shooter.  Bibbs said it was not McKinney.

"For one, he didn't have on that ugly sweater, and for two, the guy came eye to eye with me," said Bibbs.  "He was right in my face.  When somebody threatens you that close, you ain't going to forget them."

On cross examination, the prosecution questioned Bibbs' credibility after he admitted he had been smoking marijuana that night.  The judge called the defense strategy a delay and Williams' family agreed.

"The family was not expecting these undue delays due to the fact that not everything was provided to the court and to the state in a timely fashion," said Williams family spokesperson Vince Higgins.

"We have spent a lot of time trying to find Mr. Bibb and interviewing him," said defense attorney Gerald Skahan.  "We found him and put the effort into finding him and interview him."

The defense claimed Memphis police never interviewed Bibbs after the murder, although he was an eyewitness.  The McKinney retrial is expected to continue through the weekend.

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