Girlfriend testifies in Playstation murder trial

The last time Rachael Pecota saw the boyfriend she lovingly dubbed her “little chocolate drop,” he had just been shot and blood was coming from his mouth.

At least that was Pecota’s emotional testimony Monday in Judge Rochelle East’s San Francisco Superior Courtroom as the key witness to the 2013 shooting that killed her lover and business partner, Ikenna Uwakah.

The defendant, Ronnie Collins, 24, is charged with murder, attempted robbery and resisting arrest in the death of 22-year-old Uwakah.

Pecota, 25, testified Collins contacted her through Instagram to purchase Uwakah’s Playstation 4 video game console, but when Pecota and Uwakah arrived to sell the console on Dec. 21, 2013, Collins pulled out a gun and opened fire.

Pecota, a former Urban High School basketball star who earned a scholarship to play at Northeastern University, testified Monday that she attempted to sell the game console on Uwakah’s behalf. Defense attorney’s claim the Playstation was stolen.

Deputy District Attorney Diane Knoles said in her opening statement that Collins lured Pecota and Uwakah to a secluded area near Youngblood Coleman Playground in the Bayview as part of a scheme to rob them.

But Deputy Public Defender Mark Jacobs said in his opening statement that Collins acted in self defense and believed Uwakah was the one drawing a weapon.

On Nov. 29, 2013, Collins reportedly used his Instagram account to contact Pecota and make an offer on the Playstation 4. After some back and forth, they agreed to meet in the Bayview.

“[Uwaka] was trying to resell it,” Pecota said of the game console, noting the deal was for $550.

After Collins failed to meet Pecota and Uwakah outside of a Walgreens, they decided to call off the deal. But a last-minute text message convinced Uwakah to meet near the park, as Collins had asked, Pecota said.

Uwakah pulled over in his rented SUV, and Collins approached, wearing blue jeans, a North Face jacket and top and bottom gold coverings on his teeth, Pecota testified.

“‘I’m a real good dude,’” Uwakah reportedly told Collins. “If it doesn’t work, you can just hit her phone and you’ll get your money back.’”

Collins then stuck a pistol inside the window, Pecota said. When Uwakah said he could have the console, Collins reportedly pulled the trigger.

“He started shooting into the car,” Pecota said. “I was scared, terrified.”

Uwakah sped away in the car as Collins fled on foot, Pecota said. Uwakah made it around the block before Pecota took the steering wheel and tried get him to a hospital. As Uwakah directed her, Pecota recalled blood coming out of his mouth.

Part of the 911 call was played in court Monday, and Pecota can be heard screaming frantically in her attempt to find a hospital.

“My friend just got shot,” Pecota said in the recording. “Please hold on. Please. Listen to me. We were selling a PS4, and someone shot him.”

Pecota’s credibility as a witness was attacked during cross examination. Jacobs asked her about cheating in college and her expulsion from the Northeastern basketball team after getting caught smoking

Pecota conceded that she has smoked marijuana since high school and said she was smoking about one ounce per week around the time of the shooting. Jacobs suggested her heavy marijuana use may have impacted her memory of the incident in question.

The trial continues today at 9:30 a.m. in Department 16 in the Hall of Justice.

This story has been altered from its original version.


Read more criminal justice news on the Crime Ink page in print. Follow us on Twitter: @sfcrimeink
CrimeMurderPlayStation 4Rachael PecotaRonnie CollinsSan FranciscoUwakah Ikenna

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