Jul 14, 2007

The 49-year-old was shot four times.

He was shot once in the left hand. It bled as he ran, leaving a 200-foot long zig-zagging trail across the parking lot of the truck depot in Forest Park.

Donald Ray Skinner, who had just delivered a truckload of fish, was shot a second time in the thigh. The .40-caliber bullet grazed his flesh. He was shot a third time, and the bullet pierced his liver.

He was shot a fourth time in the right eye.

Clayton County Police found him three hours later, on June 9, lying on his back in the parking lot. He was holding his keys in his right hand, Detective Scott Eskew testified in court, Thursday. The refrigerated tractor trailer he drove for Cool Cargo Carriers, Inc., was still idling and its headlights were still on as the sun was coming up on the crime scene.

“The blood trail allowed us to visualize Donald Skinner’s last movements,” Eskew said. “He was moving back and forth, back and forth. When he had such a large area in which to flee, all he did was go back and forth in a zig-zag pattern.”

Charles A. Smith, 49, looked down at his jail-issued sandals while the detective testified against him in the probable cause hearing. A military veteran and an Atlanta State Farmers Market Police officer, Smith allegedly told detectives he didn’t say anything, when he shot Skinner with the state-issued, .40-caliber pistol.

He told detectives he thought he heard Skinner say a single word, before he died.

“He said ‘Why?’ He thought he heard, ‘Why?’ The word ‘why.’ But at that point he was already committed to killing him,” Eskew said.

The murder of Donald Ray Skinner: 1, 2, and 3.