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Victim testifies at trial about being shot in the face
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Defense attorney Larry Duttweiler and client Willie Joe Moran talks Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, in Hall County Superior Court during Moran's attempted murder t rial. Moran allegedly shot a Huddle House employee and shot at another woman who ran away. Less than 30 minutes later, Moran is accused of shooting a woman in a car outside of a Marlow Drive home - photo by Scott Rogers

Yanira Smith-Rodriguez heard a tapping at her car window just before midnight Jan. 23, 2019. 

She testified Tuesday, Feb. 4, that she saw a man wearing a mask and holding a gun, the barrel roughly a foot away. 

Smith-Rodriguez was then shot in the face. She suffered a shattered jaw and lost teeth, according to the warrants, injuries which required three surgeries.

“I just sat in the car asking why this happened to me,” Smith-Rodriguez said.

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Hall County investigator Jerry Phillips is questioned Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, in Hall County Superior Court during the attempted murder trial of Willie Joe Moran. Moran allegedly shot a Huddle House employee and shot at another woman who ran away. Less than 30 minutes later, Moran is accused of shooting a woman in a car outside of a Marlow Drive home. - photo by Scott Rogers

Smith-Rodriguez told the court she was in a car with Darvis Peterson in front of a Marlow Drive home.

Assistant District Attorney Harold Buckler asked Smith-Rodriguez if she had ever met the suspect, Willie Moran, before the shooting. She said no.

“After he shot you in the face, did he ever say anything that night?” Buckler asked.

“Not to me, no sir,” Smith-Rodriguez said.

Moran, of Gainesville, is facing three counts of criminal attempt to commit murder in regard to Smith-Rodriguez and two other shooting victims. The only counts left open for the jury Tuesday were those counts and two counts of criminal damage to property in the second degree.

Moran has already pleaded guilty to multiple counts of aggravated battery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, possession of a firearm by convicted felon and wearing a mask to conceal identity.

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Hall County Senior Assistant District Attorney Kelley Robertson and investigator Joel Ayers display a bandanna to jury members Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, in Hall County Superior Court during the attempted murder trial of Willie Joe Moran. - photo by Scott Rogers

Defense attorney Larry Duttweiler previously told The Times the defense was “trying to save valuable court time and valuable resources from several agencies by pleading guilty to what we’re guilty of,” regarding the earlier plea hearing.

According to the indictment, Moran was accused of shooting at Michael Benham, 60, in the arm and torso at the Huddle House.

A nurse on duty the night of the shootings testified Benham had multiple gunshots and appeared to have lacerations throughout the body “to the point we actually thought he was stabbed multiple times.”

At the Huddle House, Moran also allegedly chased Shekeria Thompson “with a handgun causing her to fall and break her arm,” an injury that required surgery. Moran also allegedly fired shots at her in the restaurant as well as “firing shots as she fled the restaurant, placing her in fear of receiving immediate serious bodily injury and death.”

In the aggravated battery count, Moran allegedly shot “the floor around Benham with a handgun, causing injuries due to shrapnel.”

Assistant District Attorney Kelley Robertson read a stipulation of evidence to the jury:

“Fourteen shell casings collected from the scene at Huddle House and 14 shell casings collected from the scene at Marlow Drive were tested by the (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) and the (Georgia Bureau of Investigation), and it was determined that all of those casings were fired from the same firearm consistent with a Glock or Smith and Wesson 9 mm pistol.”

The attorneys presented closing arguments to the jury Tuesday afternoon before Oliver’s instructions. The jury took the case for deliberations around 5 p.m. and asked to break for the evening around 6 p.m.

The jury will continue deliberating Wednesday morning.

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Defense attorney Larry Duttweiler looks inside an evidence bag Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, in Hall County Superior Court as Hall County Senior Assistant District Attorney Kelley Robertson, left, prepares to show the contents to jury members during the attempted murder trial of Willie Joe Moran, right. - photo by Scott Rogers
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