Friend testifies in death penalty case

A former friend of Joshua Drucker testified Monday she witnessed him gun down two acquaintances in the most emotional day thus far of his Cobb County death penalty trial.

Melissa McCrayer, a co-defendant in the case and one of the prosecution's star witnesses, allegedly witnessed Drucker shooting David Andrew Robertson, 40, and Lora Nikolova, 25, after accompanying Drucker to Robertson's home on April 5, 2004.

Dressed in a gray dress and black cardigan, her blonde curly hair pulled back with a wide black headband, McCrayer grew emotional as soon as Senior Assistant District Attorney Ann Harris flashed portraits of the victims.

McCrayer told jurors that she went with Drucker to Robertson's house near Marietta to get drugs. Just 20 at the time, she was also an admitted drug addict who worked as a stripper and said she hung out with Drucker almost "all day, every day."

She testified they sat for a few minutes with Robertson and his girlfriend, Nikolova, at the kitchen table. Then, Drucker asked Robertson for marijuana.

McCrayer testified that the two men stood and walked out of her field of vision and then she heard a gunshot. She turned in time to see Robertson crumple to the ground.

Nikolova then jumped up from her chair and ran to Drucker, hitting him with her fists and screaming, "No, no, no, you killed him!" McCrayer said.

"And then he shot Laura," McCrayer said tearfully. "She fell on all fours. She was on her knees spitting blood. She was wiping her mouth. I ran out of the room."

Nikolova, a student from Bulgaria, met and fell in love with Robertson after she came to Atlanta on a short-term work visa. She was staying with him at the time of the slayings.

A Bulgarian interpreter whispered a translation of McCrayer's testimony into Nikolova's father's ear as he sat in the courtroom and wept at the description of his daughter's death.

Drucker admitted to the killings in a videotaped confession to police. He told detectives he wanted revenge against Robertson for providing his sister with drugs that she subsequently overdosed on, causing her severe brain damage.

However, Drucker has pleaded not guilty. His defense attorney, Jimmy Berry, said he wants to avoid the death penalty and make the state prove its case.

Drucker was stoic but alert throughout McCrayer's testimony.

After the shootings, the pair took jewelry, cell phones and Robertson's wallet, McCrayer said. After buying marijuana from a friend, the couple went to two strip clubs. McCrayer couldn't get in because she was underage, so she took a taxi back to a motel.

She said when Drucker returned the following morning, he told her he spent $1,500 at the Pink Pony strip club. He also thought the bodies wouldn't be discovered for at least a month, McCrayer said. However, police arrested the pair at the motel less than two days after the shootings.

When prosecutors asked why she never left or called the police, McCrayer said it was because she was scared.

"I didn't want him to hurt me," she testified.

McCrayer said she went through drug treatment after the slayings, graduated college and is now attending nursing school. The defense team is expected to cross-examine her Tuesday.