Sydney Morning Herald, May 27, 2011
The millionaire US lottery winner accused of shooting dead Australian property developer Greg McNicol warned “watch your mouth” before firing the fatal bullet, a Detroit court has heard.
The evidence was part of chilling testimony presented at a hearing for 62-year-old Freddie Young on Thursday.
Young was part of a syndicate in Michigan that shared $US46.5 million in a Mega Millions jackpot lottery in February, but the court was told he was upset at the way Mr McNicol, formerly from the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, had treated his daughter, Ayana Young.
Ayana, 20, was living in an apartment complex in Detroit that Mr McNicol bought earlier in the year, however, she was two months behind on rent and was threatened with eviction.
Tenants testified Mr McNicol, on May 7, the day of his death, became involved in a heated argument at the complex with a group of women, including Young’s granddaughter.
The granddaughter phoned Young, the court heard.
The Detroit News newspaper reported after the phone call the granddaughter allegedly told the other members of the group her grandfather was going to come and “kill the dude”.
Witness, 14-year-old Mayakala Bell-Brown, testified Ayana first arrived at the apartment complex, punched Mr McNicol in the face and said: “I’m tired of you white people”.
Young then pulled up in a black vehicle, had a gun in his hand and confronted the Australian, the court heard.
“The man said, ‘Watch your mouth.’ Greg said he wanted them out of my house,” another tenant, Leola Brown, said, according to the Detroit News.
“Then he shot him.”
Detroit police believe the bullet severed a major artery near Mr McNicol’s groin.
Mr McNicol’s property manager Karen Rucker testified she and Mr McNicol had confronted Ayana about loud music and unauthorised occupants in her apartment.
Ms Rucker also said Young called her two weeks earlier and said “he didn’t want anyone disrespecting his daughter”.
Young was arrested almost a week after the shooting and has remained in custody.
He appeared in the 36th District courtroom on Thursday in handcuffs and dressed in a prisoner’s uniform.
At the end of the hearing Judge Patricia Jefferson ordered him to stand trial for first-degree premeditated murder and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
He was remanded to the Wayne County Jail ahead of a June 2 arraignment.
If guilty of the murder charge Young faces a mandatory life sentence without parole.