The self-recorded audiotape was like a diary entry.
“Hello. This is Quincy Allen, AKA Weird Man, AKA Serial Killer ... Around 3:45 yesterday morning, I tried to kill someone in Finlay Park.”
The incident marked the start of a monthlong summer crime spree in 2002 that left two people dead in Richland County and two more dead in North Carolina.
Monday, the 30-second tape became evidence in the opening minutes of the punishment phase of Allen’s capital murder trial. Testimony continues at 9:30 a.m. today.
Last week, Allen pleaded guilty to several crimes that were part of the spree, including the two Richland County killings.
By doing that, Allen bypassed a jury trial and left circuit court Judge G. Thomas Cooper Jr. to determine whether he will spend the rest of his life in prison or die by lethal injection.
In February 2004, Allen pleaded guilty in North Carolina to killing two men on Aug. 12, 2002, in a Dobson, N.C., gas station. He was sentenced to life in prison as part of a plea bargain.
For Allen to be sentenced to die in South Carolina, prosecutors must show there was an aggravating circumstance behind at least one of the killings.
In his tape about the Finlay Park shooting, Allen described his July 7, 2002, encounter with James White in matter-of-fact tones, even mocking the homeless man at one point.
“I guess he didn’t see my 12-gauge shotgun,” Allen said on the tape.
White was shot and injured while he was sleeping on a swing in the downtown Columbia park.
Monday morning in court, White told Cooper he was awakened by someone yelling at him. After being shot in the shoulder, he began yelling and screaming in a successful attempt to get the shooter to run off.
After Allen fled, White said he walked to Palmetto Health Baptist hospital, where he was treated.
In his opening argument, 5th Circuit Solicitor Barney Giese described White’s shooting and the incidents that followed as an “unprecedented crime spree in this area.”
Defense attorneys told Cooper the evidence will show that Allen was a byproduct of physical abuse and mental disorders, including schizophrenia.
In the span of about a year during the late 1990s, Allen was in and out of psychiatric facilities six times, defense attorney Kimberly Stevens said.
Last week, Allen admitted to the July 10, 2002, slaying of Dale Evonne Hall, 45, and the Aug. 8, 2002, shooting death of Jedediah Harr, 22, along with other crimes committed around the same time.
A TRAGIC END TO A SPECIAL DAY
For Tiffany Todd Marquis, Harr’s death came at the end of what was supposed to be a special day for her.
Five hours before the shooting death of Harr, his best friend, Brian Marquis got down on one knee and proposed to Tiffany Todd at the Texas Roadhouse restaurant on Two Notch Road.
“Spirits in the restaurant were up and up,” she said.
Tiffany Todd, along with Brian Marquis and Allen, all worked at the restaurant and were friends. Brian Marquis happened to be off that day and made a special trip back to the Northeast Richland restaurant to propose.
But the mood changed when Allen sneaked up behind her, Tiffany Marquis testified.
“He was trying to light my apron on fire,” she said.
That puzzled her, but other actions by Allen that evening led her to call Brian Marquis back to the restaurant, she said.
Harr drove him to the Texas Roadhouse. Tiffany Marquis was inside and didn’t see what happened when Harr later was shot and killed outside.
“I look outside, and I see ambulance lights and police officer lights flashing everywhere,” she testified. “I knew something had happened, but I didn’t know what.”
Tiffany and Brian Marquis carry Harr’s memory with them every day. Deputy Solicitor John Meadors asked her to tell Cooper their child’s name.
“His name is Brian Jedediah Marquis,” she said.