Prosecutors focus on surveillance video during trial of man accused of killing retired police officer

Johnathan Hillary Trial - Day 2

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The trial of a man accused of killing a retired New York police officer in Horry County wrapped up late Thursday night.

Johnathan Hillary faces murder, kidnapping, robbery and possession of a weapon in connection to the shooting death of Timothy Buckley.

Buckley was reported missing, along with his truck on Sept. 29, 2016.

The court watched video on Thursday from Myrtle Beach police cameras, showing someone driving the truck after Buckley disappeared.

The truck was caught on a Myrtle Beach license plate reader heading into the city from Highway 501 the night of September 29. Around 5a.m., it was then seen around Ocean Boulevard. A few minutes later a white car begins following the truck. The driver of the black trucks turns near 29th Avenue North and the truck isn’t seen again. Moments later, Myrtle Beach cameras catch a man walking from the area and getting into a white car.

Later in the day, the court heard Hillary’s first interviews with police.

Investigators said Hillary seemed calm and inquisitive when first being interviewed. Eventually, Hillary told police he was approached by a man in a black truck while visiting Myrtle Beach.

“Tell me about that truck,” asked the investigator.

“I mean, it was a truck,” replied Hillary.

“Well, tell me about it," the investigator said.

During the interview, Hillary said a man was in the truck smelling of alcohol and asking for drugs.

“Smelled like alcohol, looked like he was on dope. It was late, so, you know,” Hillary said to investigators.

Hillary told investigators he drove the man’s truck.

“Where’d you go?” the investigator asked.

“Around Myrtle Beach,” said Hillary.

Hillary said he decided to leave the truck when he felt like “the heat was on” and someone would come looking for it.

“I called my girl to come pick me up and leave the truck,” he said.

When police start pressing during the interview, Hillary made up a hypothetical situation. He asked officers what they would do if a guy was drunk, came up swinging and then grabbed a gun.

The prosecution also showed the jury a map of where Hillary’s cell phone pinged the night of his disappearance and also where Hillary’s cell phone pinged, which according to the map, were in the same area as the Hillary’s truck.

Prosecutors showed phone records of texts and phone calls going on between Hillary and Bernithia Young, who is also charged in the case but has not gone to trial.

During cross examination, the defense argued that it can’t be proved who was in the possession of the phones during that time.

Day three of trial will start on Friday.

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