Brandy Holmes, her mom, sisters and friends went to Video Voyager to rent "Dirty Dancing" for a slumber party the night of April 22, 1988.
Minutes after they entered the store, though, Brandy and the other children found themselves kneeling on the floor, asking God to help her dying mother.Fighting back tears, Brandy, now 12, took the witness stand Wednesday afternoon to describe for a jury how her mother, Anna Holmes, was gunned down during the robbery at the Kearns video store.
Charles Kenneth McCovey, 44, also known as Charles Kenneth Hodges, is charged with first-degree murder in death of Holmes, 31, West Valley City, who was about eight months pregnant.
Shortly after entering the store, Brandy noticed McCovey trying to rent "The Thing."
Moments later, he grabbed Mrs. Holmes and a man, and held a handgun to Mrs. Holmes' head. He then ordered the cashier to put money in a bag.
After getting some money from the cash register, McCovey asked for cash from underneath the counter. The cashier told him there wasn't any.
"My mom said (to the cashier), `Well just give him everything you've got,' " Brandy said. "Then, he pulled the trigger and my mom fell. He said something like, `That's the end of her' or `That'll take care of her.' "
McCovey ordered everyone to the floor and fled.
Brandy said she and the other children in the store were hysterical. "I asked (another customer) if she was Mormon, and she said she was, so we knelt down and said a prayer," Brandy testified.
Holmes, suffering a bullet wound to the head, was taken to University Hospital, where doctors delivered her baby moments before she died.
Prosecutors, who are seeking the death penalty, say the shooting was intentional and that because it was committed during an armed robbery, it is a capital offense.
Defense attorneys, however, call the shooting an accident.
In her opening statement to the 14-member jury, public defender Lisa Remal said McCovey is not asking to be acquitted.
"He is legally and morally responsible for the death of Anna Holmes. He knows he's responsible. He knows he was breaking the law, but he did not intend to cause the death of Anna Holmes," Remal argued.
The defense is asking the jury to find McCovey guilty of second-degree murder, which does not carry a possible death sentence.
Remal described "Chuck" McCov-ey as a father of six children - a tender, caring man who got into a terrible situation.
The need to support his addiction to drugs and alcohol caused McCov-ey to rob a store, Remal said. On the night of the robbery, McCovey had been drinking heavily and had taken amphetamines.
The prosecution called six witnesses Wednesday, including Mrs. Holmes' husband, Michael Holmes, who remarried a couple of months after the death.
Tearfully, he recounted how he learned of the shooting while he was on an overnight campout with Boy Scouts.
McCovey also wept during Mr. Holmes' testimony, wiping tears several times with a facial tissue.
Following Mr. Holmes' testimony, public defender Andy Valdez asked 3rd District Judge Raymond Uno to prohibit prosecutors from "parading grieving family members before the jury" to "inflame the emotions of jurors."
Uno granted Valdez's motion, allowing only eyewitness testimony of the Holmes children.