Surprises in Portsmouth case against man charged in baby’s shooting death

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — There was drama inside and outside of a Portsmouth courtroom Thursday morning, where a man is on trial for the shooting death of a baby boy.

A judge decided to send everyone home for the rest of the week. There were surprises for both prosecutors and the defense in the case against 20-year-old Jerry Atkinson, Jr.

Anthony Holley, left, and Marquis D. Hinton, right. (Photos: Portsmouth Police Department)

Atkinson is charged in a shooting that killed 18-month-old Dion Lofton, Jr. in 2015.

Prosecutors say Lofton got shot in the cheek during an attempted robbery. Marquis Hinton and Anthony Holley have already pleaded guilty in the case. Prosecutors put Holley on the stand Thurday.

Holley’s testimony was supposed to help put Atkinson away, but as soon as he began to testify, his story changed. A frustrated prosecutor asked to play a video of Holley’s past interview with police, but they couldn’t get the audio to work. The judge postponed the rest of his testimony until Monday and put court in recess.

Before everyone went home though, another bombshell — this one for the defense. Prosecutors announced a surprise witness who came forward Wednesday morning after seeing news stories about the case.

The witness supposedly heard Atkinson make a jailhouse confession. A judge agreed to give the defense time to prepare for that. He’ll be in to testify next week.

In the meantime, commotion was happening outside the courtroom, which forced the bailiff to block off the court room. No one was allowed in or out and Atkinson was taken out of the room for a short time. The sheriff’s office says someone got upset after being told to put away their cell phone. It got loud, but never turned physical.

The case continues Monday.