CINCINNATI - Standing in his driveway next to Cosmic Pizza, Bill Wesley sees his friend Richard Evans in his mind's eye - lying on his front lawn, dying from four gunshot wounds - and shakes his head with regret.
Wesley said he spends a lot of time in his driveway working on cars. That's also where he talked a lot with Evans when the pizzeria owner would step outside for a break.
Wesley thinks he might have been able to prevent the attempted robbery that took the life of his friend, a 50-year-old father of three, just after 6 p.m. on June 15 in Hartwell.
"If I had been out here in the driveway like normal, I think he would've driven on," the 58-year-old factory worker said, referring to accused killer John Deloney.
Wesley said he agrees with prosecutor Joe Deters that Deloney deserves the death penalty if convicted.
"I don't know if I believe in that (the death penalty), but to do what they say he did - to shoot Rich twice in the back – then he deserves it," Wesley said.
David Fields, who used to deliver pizzas for Evans, said he was stunned by the killing. Fields was held up at gunpoint when he worked at a Pizza Hut near Hawaiian Terrace, he said.
"Rich was just a guy trying to make it in the world as a small businessman only to be gunned down in front of his wife and kids. It really hurts to see a father taken from his family in such a brutal, senseless way," Fields said.
Fields said he was held up by three teens. They stole his new car and his wallet and crashed his car in Mount Airy Forest.
He said he got out of the pizza business after that.
"The crime that follows pizza places is just crazy," Fields said.
From his driveway, Wesley pointed to the spot inside his chain-link fence where Evans fell and died – about 30 feet from the pizzeria's front door. Wesley said two surveillance cameras on his house caught Evans' final moments – and Deloney's arrival and getaway.
Wesley said the video showed Evans stumble across his driveway.
"He was trying to reach me. I don't have a doubt in my mind," Wesley said.
"He was holding his side. He had blood stains here and here," Wesley said, pointing to his right side and just above his heart.
Then Evans opened the gate in the fence and fell across some of the stones embedded in the grass that made a pathway to the front porch.
Wesley said he was in the cottage behind his house, eating dinner, when the shooting happened. He said when he came to the front yard, a neighbor was cradling Evans in his arms.
"He was saying, ‘You're going to be all right, you're going to be all right,' but I could see Rich's eyes were fixed and glazed over. He didn't have any color in his face," Wesley said.
Wesley said police watched his surveillance video and told him it helped them identify Deloney as the alleged killer.
"The guy parked right across the street, right in front of that tree," Wesley said, pointing across Woodsdale Avenue, a quiet street of homes off busy, commercial Vine Street. "You could see his car. It was an Equinox, maroon.
"He was a big guy, too. My son is 6-feet and he was at least as big as my son, and he weighed maybe 280, 290 or 300 pounds."
Deters said Deloney ordered food, pulled a gun on Evans, and demanded money. They struggled for the gun and Evans was shot at close range. Evans tried to run out of the building and Deloney shot him three more times. Surveillance video shows Evans' wife cowering on the floor while Deloney fired at Evans, Deters said.
The three Evans children - ages 8, 5 and 18 months – were playing in the back room. Evans' wife and kids were not hurt, Deters said.
Deloney did not get away with any money, Deters said. Deloney turned himself in to Indianapolis police Wednesday night, police said.
A fund for Evans' family has been set up at http://www.gofundme.com/3ac52k. More than $33,000 has been raised.
A fundraising cookout is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday at the Hartwell Kroger, 8241 Vine St. Donations and proceeds from the sale of hot dogs, soda and water will go to the Evans' family fund.
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