Co-defendant testifies against friend accused of killing West Bloomfield woman found in torched car

Jaylen Stringer takes stand against DeSean Smith in murder trial

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. - The murder trial for a teenager accused of shooting, then burning a West Bloomfield woman's body entered its third day.

DeSean Smith is accused of killing Dianna Pesserl in December 2016, and on Monday, his co-defendant took the stand and revealed more about that night.

Jaylen Stringer didn't hold back as he was forced to look at his childhood friend and tell a courtroom how the robbery and killing went down.

"He told me he tried to rob a lady, and when he tried to rob her, she grabbed his gun, and that when she grabbed his gun, he shot her," Stringer said.

Police found Pesserl in the truck of her torched car behind a middle school in West Bloomfield. Stringer told the court he didn't believe Smith immediately, but once he realized his friend wasn't joking, he started punching him for returning to Stringer's house after the killing.

"He had a smirk on his face," Stringer said. "He said, 'Alright, you're not going to beat my (expletive) all night. Let me show you what happened.' He pulled a gun out of his coat pocket."

At that point, Stringer testified that Smith explained how the gun went off during the robbery.

"(He said), 'She grabbed and this happened. I shot her right here. It was an accident,'" Stringer said. "Then he went on to say, 'The (expletive) shouldn't have grabbed my gun. Ain't nobody ever grabbed my gun before.'"

Stringer copped his own plea. He admitted to tampering with evidence and failing to report the crime.

"I didn't tell anyone," Stringer said. "I assisted him in washing his clothes after he told me. We went out, came back to my house and I assisted him in hiding the gun."

Smith listened as Stringer, the state's key witness, revealed the details.

"I knew I was there and didn't tell anyone, but I didn't feel I was a part of it when it happened," Stringer said.

Stringer faces up to 10 years in prison for helping Smith hide the evidence. He will be sentenced next week.

It's unclear if Smith plans to take the stand in his own defense during the murder trial. It will continue Tuesday.

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