CLEARWATER - Dwayne Bailey thought he had an alibi for the fatal shooting of a drug dealer in the early morning hours of March 17, 2011.
The 27-year-old ex-convict told investigators he could not have killed Marquell Burge, 31 - otherwise known as Bo-Didley - at the back of the Game Room in south St. Petersburg shortly after 2 a.m. He said he was babysitting at his cousin's house at the time.
Trouble was, at least two of the children didn't go along with the story, opting instead to tell police the truth, according to police reports.
Bailey went on trial Monday on a charge of first-degree murder. Authorities say he killed Burge during a robbery.
Within an hour of the shooting, someone shot up Bailey's cousin's house, where six children had been left alone, according to St. Petersburg police. Detectives suspect the shooting was a retaliation for Burge's death, though no one was ever charged.
None of the children was hurt in the shooting at 1252 Eighth Ave. S., which is about a half-mile away from the Game Room. The children were between 2 and 15.
One of the children, Hydeia Kegler, was 11 at the time and in the sixth grade, according to a St. Petersburg police report.
She said "Uncle Dwayne" left about 15 minutes after her mother, Ciara Woods. She also gave a detailed description of what he was wearing, which matched the shooter's clothing. She told police her babysitter that night was 13 or 14.
Hydeia went to bed about midnight but was startled awake about 3 a.m., when nine bullets riddled the house.
Javien Newton, 9 at the time and in the fourth grade, also said Bailey had left the house a short time after Woods and that he was wearing a black shirt and black shorts.
Assistant State Attorney Susan St. John told jurors during opening remarks Monday both children would testify during the four-day trial.
Also expected to testify are people who were at the Game Room, at 1149 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. S., the night of the shooting
Among them is a man who had just purchased 30 rocks of crack-cocaine from Burge for $395 before Burge was shot, according to a police report.
The man who shot Burge had been at the club before and had a "727" tatoo on the back of his neck - just like Bailey, Maurice Hendricks said.
Lorenzo Brown, known as "Bones," also identified Bailey, from a photographic lineup, a police report states.
"This has got to be a sign for me to stop hanging out [there] because this is the second time that I have been out there when somebody was killed," he told police.
Richard Watts, Bailey's defense attorney, told jurors Brown Monday that Hendricks and others expected to identify Bailey in court this week thought he was the killer only because they had seen him before.
There was no hard evidence linking Bailey to the slaying, Watts said.
After his arrest, Bailey confided in fellow jail inmate, Joseph Marshall Jr., telling him he had recently been released from prison, after serving a stint for robbery, and, needing money, had his eye on the Game Room. He also admitted to killing Burge during a failed robbery, police reports state.
Bailey told Marshall he had asked the children in the house to lie. He wanted them to say he had been cleaning the house with them. Neither of the children mentioned that.
Bailey told investigators pretty much the same thing after he showed up at the St. Petersburg Police Department before detectives could track him down and Burge's people could get to him. He said he was at Woods' house with the children, cleaning and straightening up, because he was going to stay there with his girlfriend.