Manslaughter plea in Westside athlete's death

Star high school running back Sergio Campbell killed last year

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 5:42 PM
Last updated Thursday, May 12, 2011 2:21 AM
  • Follow Latest News

The possibility that the killing of former Westside High School star running back Sergio Campbell might have resulted from a combination of self-defense and confusion led attorneys to reach a plea deal Wednesday with the man charged with his death.

The charges against Harry Lee Jones, 22, which included two counts of murder, aggravated assault and other firearms charges -- were reduced to one count of voluntary manslaughter in exchange for his plea. He was sentenced according to the state's recommendation to 10 years in prison, followed by 10 years of probation.

Assistant District Attorney Rex Myers described a convoluted series of events that led to Campbell's death outside a McDonald's restaurant on Deans Bridge Road on Jan. 24, 2010.

Myers said that according to what investigators have pieced together from the people involved, in addition to surveillance video from the McDonald's, three groups of young men were riding in three vehicles: a silver Toyota sport utility vehicle contained Jones and another man; a white Oldsmobile was driven by Campbell; and a green minivan with unidentified occupants. The vehicles gathered in the restaurant parking lot at the same time.

Authorities said someone in the minivan shot at the SUV that Jones was riding in. Jones fired at the Oldsmobile, hitting Campbell with two bullets.

The defendant argued that he was fighting back in self-defense and, according to Myers, thought the gunshots were coming from the white car.

Campbell had good reason to suspect he was about to be the victim of a drive-by shooting, Myers said.

Less than an hour before, the same vehicles had been in Augusta's Harrisburg neighborhood, where someone in the minivan first fired on the SUV. How and why they all drove to the McDonald's across town is not clear, Myers said. Neither is it clear what started the shooting.

"There is no apparent reason or motive for that," Myers told the courtroom. "It's just that everyone involved in the case seems to acknowledge that event took place."

The lack of details and confusion about the incident -- added to the apparent defensive nature of Jones' actions -- meant it could have been self-defense, Myers said.

"It appears that this could very much be a case of mistaken (identity) in that Harry Jones may have returned fire to the wrong vehicle," he said. "Essentially, it's an imperfect self-defense case."

Whether Jones meant to kill Campbell was of little consolation to the mother and sister of the victim, who argued against a reduced sentence.

"I would rather him get put away for a long time," Linda Campbell, the victim's mother, told Superior Court Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet. "That would be justice."

Jones apologized for the killing -- saying he acted out of fear for his life. "I pray you forgive me every night and I pray for your family," he said. "I was just protecting myself."

MAN RULED TO BE INSANE: In U.S. District Court, a man charged with threatening to kill then-President George W. Bush was found not guilty by reason of insanity Wednesday.

In April 2008, authorities claim, Daniel Ashley Hart mailed a threatening letter to the president from a Columbia County post office.

"I swear to god I will kill you and myself if you don't write back," the letter said, according to the indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Augusta. He was also accused of saying he would "try to kill the president," and with hitting and spitting on a U.S. Secret Service agent on April 29, 2010.

Hart has spent months in treatment in a Missouri psychiatric facility since a court-ordered mental evaluation found he was not fit to stand trial. Officials also found that he was "legally insane" at the time he made the threats. As part of a plea agreement with the government, Hart could now be committed to a government hospital.

STORE OWNER INDICTED: A Richmond County grand jury has indicted the owner of a Tobacco Road convenience store on charges he operated an illegal gambling business between Jan. 21 and Feb. 11 of this year.

Vijay Chimanhhai Patel is charged with commercial gambling, keeping a gambling place and possession of a gambling device, according to the indictment returned this week.

The state alleged that he possessed three video poker machines at First Stop Convenience Store, 2762 Tobacco Road. Patel was arrested Feb. 11.

Comments (8) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
airbud7
1
Points
airbud7 05/11/11 - 07:50 pm
0
0
So he drove to McDonald’s

So he drove to McDonald’s Packing a loaded Gun and Killed a Innocent Bystander and He will be walking the streets in 5 years???

This is the reason Crime is Running Rampid in Augusta!!!

Asitisinaug
4
Points
Asitisinaug 05/11/11 - 08:57 pm
0
0
The charges against

The charges against 22-year-old Harry Lee Jones, which included two counts of murder, aggravated assault and other firearms charges – were reduced to one count of voluntary manslaughter! And we continue to wonder what is wrong with out system? This criminal thug along with our assistant DA have made a mochery of our justice system.

AC, may we please see his past criminal history? Was he even allowed to be in possession of a firearm? Also, please change county to count in the second paragraph.

corgimom
38785
Points
corgimom 05/11/11 - 07:55 pm
0
0
Airbud, I agree with you

Airbud, I agree with you 100%!

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 05/11/11 - 08:01 pm
0
0
Always an excuse...

Always an excuse...

WoodyKaminer
2
Points
WoodyKaminer 05/12/11 - 07:10 am
0
0
Airbud, I believe the word

Airbud, I believe the word you are looking for is "rampant", not rampid. But you did make a good point though.

OhWell
326
Points
OhWell 05/12/11 - 07:17 am
0
0
How do we know the victim was

How do we know the victim was innocent? The people and the 3 vehicles had moved from one location to another so obviously there was some connection between them. The DA might have taken the plea knowing if he went to trial the accused might have been found not guilty with the information they had been able to obtain. It is sad but there would be unanswered questions in my mine if I were on the jury and the above facts were presented.

WoodyKaminer
2
Points
WoodyKaminer 05/12/11 - 07:24 am
0
0
Seems to me that just from

Seems to me that just from the remarks made by the DA's office that the suspect in this case had a very good chance of getting off completely. If I were on the jury and I heard the DA say it was some sort of self defense, its doubtful that I would have found him guilty. Afterall, the suspect doesnt have to prove his innocence, the prosecution has to prove his guilt!

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 05/12/11 - 01:19 pm
0
0
innocent victim!?!??!?!?!??!,
Unpublished

innocent victim!?!??!?!?!??!, my definition of an innocent victim is someone who was minding their own business either standing in line/shopping at the store, at home, on their way to work/store sitting on his/her front porch or pretty much not in the company of others looking for, or looking to cause trouble/problems/crimes..etc so the article states that the "footbal star" is innocent?? why/how could that be if he is in one of the cars in a known drug area, then follows the other car to a specific location at such time gun fire erupts...let me ask did any of the shooters have permits for the weapons??? uh probably not, the only reason he was claimed to be innocent is because he is a FOOTBALL STAR!!! actually he is just as guilty as the defendent because an innocent man would not better in the first place and not be hanging out with those who have/want nothing in life and having the ability to play football gave the deceedant at least a head start in life with an opportunity to use his ability to get an education....well i guess not if he didn't have enuff sense to know better than to be hanging around with those who got him killed in the first place...i guess he just "got caught up with the wrong crowd"

OhWell
326
Points
OhWell 05/12/11 - 01:35 pm
0
0
lifelongresident you got that

lifelongresident you got that right, he obviously lived on the west side of Augusta but he choose to hang around in known drug areas. Not a good decision and hearing the case the DA outlined I not sure Jones attorney did the right thing and accepted the plea. She probably could have gotten a not guilty verdict.

Back to Top
loading...
Search Augusta jobs