Editor’s note: Defense counsel Joseph F. Gorman is not related to the author of this story. This report also corrects an earlier version that said the baby had been shot, which is incorrect. The baby was not harmed.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Louis Littlejohn told a jury Thursday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court he was “glad” when he got the revolver he was carrying out of his pocket and emptied it into the back of the man who was carrying his three-week-old grandson.
Testifying on his own behalf before Judge Anthony D’Apolito, Littlejohn, 66, said he ran after Charles Pargo, 27, inside the house on Belden Avenue he was renting for his daughter because he was “furious” and “angry” and also upset that police were clearing a domestic call between his daughter and Pargo and were allowing Pargo to stay in the house with the baby.
Littlejohn was on the front porch about 10:40 p.m. Sept. 18, 2017, as officers were leaving the home to go to a gunfire call on nearby Jean Street. Littlejohn’s daughter, Brittany, had already left the home with her four other children but agreed to let Pargo stay in the house with the baby they shared after she conferred with police over the phone.
“I was furious,” said Littlejohn, who faces charges of aggravated murder and murder for Pargo’s death. “I was mad. I was angry that he got to stay in the house with my grandson even though he’s the father.”
He testified he was behind Pargo on the steps when Pargo turned his head and called him a name. That’s when he reached for the .38-caliber revolver he brought with him in his jacket pocket.
At first, the revolver was stuck, but once he freed it, he fired until it clicked on an empty cylinder, Littlejohn testified.
“I didn’t see anything,” Littlejohn said. “I was just so glad I got the revolver out. I started shooting.”
Among the things Littlejohn didn’t see was baby Isaiah, who was being held by his father. Fortunately, Isaiah was not injured.
“I didn’t mean to shoot him in the back at all, but I was so mad and angry, I shot him,” Littlejohn testified.
Pargo was hit four times in the back and died instantly, police said.
Testimony in the case began Tuesday after jurors were selected Monday. Littlejohn’s attorney, Joseph F. Gorman, has said his client was suffering from a malady of health problems at the time, including diabetes, blurred vision and hypertension. He had a doctor testify about his health condition as well as his wife.
Littlejohn’s wife testified she was at home with him when their daughter Brittany called about a fight she was having with Pargo. She put Brittany on speaker phone. The wife testified that she did not want to go over to the home, but her husband did.
Littlejohn, however, testified during his direct examination that he was the one who did not want to go over because he was sick. When his lawyer said that contradicted his wife’s testimony, Littlejohn said she probably does not remember very well because it was almost four years ago. He decided he should go once he heard his grandchildren screaming in the background, he said.
He said he took the gun, which he bought on the streets, with him because he was afraid of Pargo, who he said threatened him before. He added that he saw Pargo with a gun before.
Wearing a dark suit and tie and a white shirt with white socks, Littlejohn also apologized several times on direct examination for killing Pargo — at times, tearfully.
“I want to apologize to the family,” he said. “I never meant to kill that young man.”
Through tears, he said he sees Pargo on the ceiling of his cell at the county jail every night, and he said he learned that Isaiah means “the Lord says.” He credited God for leaving the baby unscathed.
He also said he was thankful that police on the scene, who ran back to the home when they heard gunshots, didn’t fire their own weapons. He threw his gun down when he was instructed to, police said.
“I thank God they didn’t shoot me because they had every right to,” Littlejohn said.
Under cross-examination from Assistant Prosecutor Dawn Cantalamessa, Littlejohn said he could not buy a gun from a legal dealer because he tried once but was refused because of his “mental history.” He said he could not remember telling police he was sick that evening, but a few minutes later, he claimed he did inform police he was ill.
He also said under cross-examination that he thought Isaiah should have gone with his mother, even though the mother was not there at the time. Pargo was the baby’s father and the mother said it was alright if the baby spent the night with him.
“I regret shooting him, but I was so enraged, I was so mad,” Littlejohn said.
“I’m a calm person all my life. I try to do the right thing all the time.”
Jurors are expected to hear closing arguments Friday.