The Herald Bulletin

January 24, 2014

Wood: Cobb 'unloaded' gun on Smith

By Zach Osowski
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON — Jonathan Wood testified Thursday in the Malcolm Cobb murder trial, claiming Cobb shot Spencer Smith and then made up a self-defense story later that night.

Jonathan, unlike his older brother Joshua Wood who testified Wednesday, said he was in Smith's residence the entire time. He said an argument over whether Smith raped a woman broke out soon after the Wood brothers and Cobb walked into Smith's duplex on Jan. 29, 2013.

Jonathan Wood said Cobb held a knife to Smith's neck, accusing him of raping an 18-year-old woman. When Joshua Wood told Cobb to stop, Cobb put the knife to his neck.

While Cobb was threatening Joshua Wood, Smith got up and went to his room. Jonathan said his brother went outside and Cobb followed Smith into the bedroom.

Jonathan said he heard a commotion in the room and stood in the doorway.

"I saw Cobb with a gun against Spencer's shoulder," Wood said. "And he said 'you've got five seconds to open the safe or I'm going to shoot you.'"

Smith couldn't get the safe open so Cobb shot him in the shoulder, Wood said, and when Smith stood up Cobb "unloaded" the gun on him.

Jonathan Wood's account matched up fairly well with the account his brother gave a day earlier in court, including the self-defense story Cobb allegedly made up.

Jonathan said after they took a taxi back to Anderson and opened up the safe, Cobb asked him to shoot him in the shoulder to make it look like Smith had shot him. When Jonathan refused, Cobb took a knife and cut his clothes to make it look like he had been attacked. Jurors on Thursday got to see the shirt Cobb was wearing that night with visible knife marks on it.

That account of the self-defense story matched the account several other witnesses gave Thursday including Jennifer Kelly. Kelly is Cobb's former stepdaughter. She called a taxi for Cobb and the Wood brothers the night Smith was shot and they brought Smith's safe and guns to her apartment.

Both Kelly and the friend who was staying with her stated Cobb asked Jonathan to shoot him to make it look like self-defense after they opened the safe.

Jonathan's testimony, like his brother's, was different than what he originally told police when the shooting first occurred. When Cobb's attorney, Jimmy McDole, asked Jonathan why he decided to lie to the police, Jonathan said he was scared.

Jonathan and Joshua Wood are both being tried on murder and robbery charges in connection with Smith's homicide in upcoming trials.

The state, led by Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings, will go through a few more witnesses today before resting. The defense will then bring its own witnesses before closing arguments. McDole said he planned on calling Malcolm Cobb Sr. and Linda Cobb, Cobb's parents, to the stand.

Whether Cobb himself will testify will not be decided until the state rests. McDole said he never makes that determination until the prosecutors finish with their evidence.

"When they're done I'll advise him one way or another," McDole said. "Ultimately though it's his decision."

Follow Zach Osowski on Twitter @Osowski_THB, or call 640-4847.