A 911 call describing a fight in a Hall County cul-de-sac kicked off the trial for Geoffrey Mack on Monday.
Mack is charged with aggravated battery, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and reckless conduct. He is accused of shooting Cornelio Lazarescue, 74, in the jaw and ankle after Lazarescue allegedly followed the defendant’s wife, Cheryl Mack, home from a nearby park.
“Geoff, don’t do it,” said a neighbor in the 911 call.
Chief Assistant District Attorney Wanda Vance began her opening statements with the 911 call from the neighbor, who said Mack was pointing a gun at Lazarescue.
Vance said Lazarescue was shot in his jaw and his ankle in a confrontation March 20, 2015, on Maple Valley Drive.
“He feels his mouth fill up with teeth,” Vance said.
When taking the stand, Lazarescue removed his shoe and sock to demonstrate to the jury his ankle injury. Vance added that Lazarescue’s tongue is still paralyzed.
“He drinks his food still a year and a half later,” Vance said.
Clinton Teston, Mack’s attorney, addressed the jury regarding Lazarescue’s allegedly stalking Cheryl Mack.
Lazarescue was charged with stalking, but the case will be taken up at a different time.
“She moves around her schedule,” Teston said, with Cheryl Mack explaining that she is married. “She tries to avoid him. She has her dog with her. She brings her daughter with her.”
On March 20, 2015, Lazarescue allegedly followed Mack home from the park. Cheryl Mack then called 911 and her husband while driving home.
Teston said different neighbors had different vantage points to the incident, when Mack was allegedly hit with the car door.
“You’ll hear from (the neighbor), I expect, that Lazarescue actually lunges for the gun at one point, gets it, pulls it towards him and that’s when it goes off,” Teston said.
Both Vance and Teston briefly touched on the idea of affirmative defenses as it pertains to self-defense. Mack previously was denied immunity from the charges in August on the basis of self-defense.
An interpreter assisted Lazarescue on the stand. A Romanian Baptist, the man said he fled his country to evade religious persecution and entered the U.S. in 1987. He later became a citizen and moved to Georgia, according to his testimony.
“I cannot speak very well,” Lazarescue said through his interpreter.
Lazarescue said he would say hello to Cheryl Mack at the park and testified that she was nice to him.
Testimony wrapped up after 7 p.m. Monday. The trial will resume around 9 a.m. Tuesday in Superior Court Judge Bonnie Oliver’s courtroom.