'Please don't let me die:' Emotional testimony in Jacksonville woman's murder trial

Testimony begins in murder trial of Sahara Barkley, a mother killed at a gas station

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In January 2018, Sahara Barkley, a young mother was shot to death at a BP gas station on Stockton Street.

Barkley's mother spoke to Action News Jax shortly after the shooting. She said Barkley had a 1-year-old daughter.

On Wednesday, the trial for the woman accused of shooting her began with emotional witness testimony. Tairrah McGriff is charged with second-degree murder in Barkley’s death.

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Barkley went to the gas station to buy her usual pack of cigarettes and left her car running. At the same time, McGriff and a man pulled up to the gas station. McGriff went inside, and the man stole Barkley’s car.

He has since pleaded guilty to the charge and is serving time in prison. Barkley went after her car, but it was long gone. Moments later, the video shows Barkley confronting McGriff, the state saying Barkley was heated because she saw McGriff come to the store with the man who stole her car. Barkley was shot under her armpit. Store clerks at the BP said they tried to help Barkley, who begged them to keep her alive. McGriff was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and carrying a concealed weapon.

The prosecution laid out their case using several surveillance videos from the night of the shooting. Several witnesses took the stand, including the manager of the gas station. Germesha Grissett testified Barkley had her hands up and started walking backwards when a gun was brandished.

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Grissett told a jury both women were regular customers. She was emotional on the stand when a frantic 911 call from that night was played. Grissett testified she broke up the initial fight between the women. The defense said McGriff was acting in self defense.

A Jacksonville Sheriff's Officer who responded to the scene said Barkley was lying on the ground near the gas pumps bleeding. He testified Barkley was talking and said, "Please don’t let me die, please don’t let me die."

Barkley’s family sobbed while some of the evidence was displayed for the jury.

Testimony resumes Thursday, where the medical examiner is expected to take the stand.