By the time Wayne Best walked out of a downtown restaurant on the night of Dec. 8, 2014, the plot that would lead to his death was already underway, an admitted co-conspirator testified Tuesday.
Todd A. Macon testified in the first-degree murder trial of Troy Saunders, admitting to texting Best to find his location. Macon, Saunders and two others intended to rob Best of marijuana, Macon said.
“We seen him get in a car at Bombers, but we figured out that the State Street location wasn’t a good spot to rob him, so we followed him,” Macon testified.
They followed Best to the Saw Mill Tavern, waited and then followed him home to Parkwood Boulevard, Macon said.
Once at Parkwood, Saunders and another co-conspirator, Christopher E. Johnson, 26, of Schenectady, got out while Macon parked around the corner, Macon said. The two men allegedly attacked the 25-year-old Best. Saunders then shot and killed him, prosecutors contend.
Police arrested Macon, Johnson and Saunders early last year, all on murder counts. Macon, 30, along with Johnson, have since pleaded guilty to lesser counts of robbery. Macon testified Tuesday he is expected to receive between 15 and 25 years in prison for his role.
If convicted, Saunders, 32, of Schenectady, could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Macon remains in custody. After being questioned by prosecutor Christina Tremante-Pelham, Macon faced questioning from the defense — Saunders himself.
Saunders chose to argue the case on his own, though he has attorney Joseph Gardner with him to answer legal questions. Though remaining in custody, Saunders wears regular clothes for the trial, including a collared, button-down shirt.
“Can you tell me when you met me?” Saunders asked Macon, who responded that it was two or three years before.
Saunders had Macon recount that evening. Macon testified he, Saunders, Johnson and a fourth man who was never charged made plans to rob Best. Macon was a friend of Best and made contact to find Best’s location. The group assembled about 9 or 10 that night.
“The plan was to rob him,” Macon said. “It was simple. He had weed and the plan was to take it from him without paying for it.”
Once the conspirators arrived at the Saw Mill, Macon said, “we waited in the car. You [Saunders} and Chris got out of the car. I don’t know what you guys did.”
Best and a friend of his soon left the tavern. “When we seen them get in the other car, we followed,” Macon said.
After the shooting, Macon picked up both Saunders and Johnson and they fled, Macon said.