North Carolina Man Testifies McCray Fled Buffalo After Shooting

March 28, 2011 Updated Oct 25, 2013 at 2:04 PM EDT

By John Borsa

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March 28, 2011 Updated Oct 25, 2013 at 2:04 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - Haywood Ticking said he heard about the mass shooting outside City Grill Restaurant in downtown Buffalo by watching the news.

Ticking, 24, from Charlotte, NC, said a friend tuned in a Charlotte television news report in the days following the massacre and Ticking watched a story about the shootings, which left four dead and four wounded.

Days later, that same friend introduced Ticking to a man named "Mack," Ticking testified in the Riccardo McCray murder trial Monday morning.

"Mack," Ticking said, was McCray.

"He's wearing a blue shirt, on my left," said Ticking as he pointed out McCray to the jury.

Ticking said he, his friend and McCray drove from Charlotte to Buffalo on August 25 in Ticking's red Acura. McCray sat in the backseat, he said.

The three talked about girls, smoked marijuana, but never discussed the City Grill shootings, Ticking said.

Once in Buffalo, as the three traveled on I-190 North approaching the Peace Bridge, Ticking's car was pulled over by state police.

Ticking had been reported missing by his mother to North Carolina authorities.

Once Ticking called his mother and informed her that he was okay, the trooper let the men continue on their way, inadvertently allowing McCray, who was the subject of a massive law enforcement manhunt, to slip away in the Acura's back seat.

Ticking said he dropped McCray off at a housing project and then he checked in to a Niagara Falls Boulevard motel with his other passenger.

Days later, police came knocking.

Officers took Ticking and his passenger into custody and impounded the Acura, testing it for DNA and fingerprints.

Ticking remained in Buffalo where he testified before the grand jury that indicted McCray. When asked by prosecutors if he wanted to be in court today, Ticking responded, "No."

Late Monday, a forensic biologist with Erie County Central Police Services testified.

Thomas Grill said DNA found on a cigarette in the back seat of the Acura matched a sample of DNA provided by McCray shortly after his arrest.

The DNA found in the Pontiac did not match McCray's, but the defendant could not be excluded as a match either, Grill testified.

Also on Monday, the jury learned how two of the victims died in the early morning hours of August 14.

Dr. Mark LeVaughn, a medical examiner who performed autopsies on Shawntia McNeil, 26, and Willie McCaa III, 27.

McNeil died from a single gun shot wound to the left chest. McCaa was shot once in the back of the head.

McCray faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of three counts of first-degree murder. He also faces one count of second-degree murder and four counts of first-degree attempted murder.