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Learning to hit a lick Part II
 

The first part of "Learning to Hit a Lick," chronicled a teenager's passage from strip club dancer to murderous prostitute. This week, the story picks up minutes after the shooting deaths of Ray Goodwin and Claudell "Doc" Christmas.

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She and Sam turned around and headed to her place in Decatur so she could change. For the next hour, she kept trying Ray's cell, and he kept not answering. By now, it was after 10 p.m.

Smokey and Sam finally drove over to Ray's. When Smokey saw Doc's truck out in front of Ray's building, her gut stiffened. She made Sam go in [11].

He knocked first. No answer. The door wasn't locked, so he peeked in. Just to the left of the door was the couch. Doc was sitting in it, slumped over. He looked like he'd passed out. Sam didn't want to go in; he yelled at Doc from the doorway. Nothing. He grabbed a bottle of water from the car and ran back to splash it on Doc. That's when he noticed the blood on his neck. And the other body [12].

He was on the floor on the far side of the couch, lying on his back next to the sliding glass door. He was holding a couch pillow to his chest. There was Ray [13].

Sam went back to the car. "They're here, but they're gone," he told Smokey. "They're dead" [14].

***

When Falicia left Mike at the motel, she brought Pumpkin with her. She figured it would be easier for two girls to attract a high roller than one. On certain nights of the week - Thursdays in particular - certain clubs in Buckhead are hot with money: out-of-towner money, bachelor-party money, guys-out-drinking-with-cash-to-burn-and-an-itch-to-scratch money. Someone was bound to fall for them. If things were slow at one bar, they'd move on to the next [15].

Falicia and Pumpkin happened to be outside Fuel, the club where Ray had planned to celebrate Denise's birthday, when someone bit. Lemetrice "Big Mechi" Twitty was an Ohio-born master barber who'd come to Atlanta four years ago chasing success. And he found it. He'd cut the hair of bands including George Clinton's P-Funk and Tony! Toni! Tone! He'd ingratiated himself into the scene. He'd hobnobbed with P. Diddy [16].

But all hadn't gone well for Mechi in Atlanta. The night of the 2000 Super Bowl, he and a bunch of buddies from his native Akron were celebrating in Buckhead when a fight broke out outside Cobalt Lounge. Jacinth Baker, an orphan whom Mechi called "my little guy," and Richard Lollar, a fellow barber, were knocked to the ground. Mechi thought they were unconscious. They'd been stabbed to death [17].

Mechi and a third friend, Marlin Burros, ran to Marlin's truck, where Marlin grabbed a gun from the cab. He started shooting at a retreating limo. He believed it held Jacinth and Richard's attackers. Inside the limo was Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis [18].

Lewis and two other men, Joseph Sweeting and Reginald Oakley, were indicted less than two weeks after the stabbings and were tried that summer for the murders of Jacinth and Richard. All three walked.

Mechi's mother, Gloria, says her son never was the same after that. He'd grown up with Jacinth and Richard and had to stand by helplessly as they died. Then to see the men he believed responsible go free - it was too much.

Two-and-a-half years later, on the night of Aug. 15 and into the morning, Mechi was hanging out not three blocks from where Jacinth and Richard were killed. He noticed a girl walk by him outside Fuel. He asked for her name and number. It's Ameshia, she told him, writing her number down. But most people called her Pumpkin [19].

Pumpkin and Falicia certainly were interested in Mechi. He looked like money, what with all the rings and chunky diamond in his ear. But the girls moved on. They only happened to run into him a little while later, just up Peachtree Road in the IHOP parking lot. They all went back to his place [20].

Mechi lived in Clarkston, in a second-floor unit inside a wooded complex called Lakeshore Apartments. They smoked a few blunts. Falicia gave him a blowjob. One of the girls - each says it was the other - slept with him [21].

As Mechi dozed off, they rummaged through the apartment looking for his cash. Falicia pulled her gun. Mechi woke and, realizing what was going on, started to scream.

"Calm down," Falicia remembers telling him. "It's not going down like that. Nobody's going to hurt you. Just stay calm."

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