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Murder suspect’s friends testify against him in court

CALHOUN COUNTY, SC (WIS) – Two men charged with accessory to gunning down a trucker in Calhoun County took the stand against the man investigators say pulled the trigger.

Willie Reed, a man whose called Willie Pelzer a friend for the past 13 years, shares charges in a trucker’s murder.

Reed took the stand against his friend Wednesday.

Reed told jurors he picked Pelzer up from his home soon after Pelzer shot trucker Jason Rivenburg.

“When I saw him, he placed the .45-caliber weapon on the car. My first question was, ‘Where did you get that?’ Then he said that wasn’t important. Then he asked me if he was shot. I told him no, then I stated again, ‘Where did you get that weapon from?’ and again, he told me again that wasn’t important,” said Reed.

Reed told jurors Pelzer was missing his shirt and that he thought he saw it burning in Pelzer’s backyard.

Reed says Pelzer got into the car and the pair met up with Jimmie Haygood, who also faces accessory charges in the murder.

“He said he just murdered a guy and that if I don’t get Willie Reed to go along with it, it’s going to be two dead bodies instead of just one,” said Haygood.

Haygood says he knew Pelzer was serious.

Both men testified that Pelzer wanted to spend the night in Charleston with a woman he knew.

So, the three borrowed a car and headed the woman’s apartment complex where the men say Pelzer threw the gun in a dumpster.

During the night, Haygood says Willie Pelzer told him the story of what happened.

“At first, he was sitting in the woods and then he moved under the trailer of the truck and he waited until the guy was on the phone and tried to rob him, he thought the guy was reaching for a gun, so he started shooting,” said Haygood.

Investigators collected five shell casings from the scene. Two bullets hit Rivenburg in the head, evident by the damage to his cell phone.

Both Reed and Haygood admitted lying about the killing in the beginning before giving statements they say sets the record straight.

“I just didn’t feel like protecting that person anymore,” said Reed.

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