Motive key to murder retrial

A retrial began Monday for an Augusta man accused of hiring a hit man to kill someone who had testified against him.


Lorenzo Dexter Lindsey, 30, has pleaded not guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to murder and weapons charges. He is being tried a second time for the death of 28-year-old Marcus Taylor because the Georgia Supreme Court reversed his 2003 conviction.

Mr. Taylor was shot to death Aug. 11, 2002, in the parking lot of the Citgo station at 15th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

John Lawton was convicted of firing the gun. A third man, Charles H. Hankerson, was also charged with murder but pleaded guilty to conspiracy and testified against Mr. Lawton and Mr. Lindsey.

Mr. Hankerson died in April 2006. Chief Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet has ruled that the jury this week will hear Mr. Hankerson's testimony from the 2003 trial.

District Attorney Ashley Wright told the jury in her opening statement Monday that Mr. Lindsey wanted Mr. Taylor dead because Mr. Taylor testified against him when Mr. Lindsey stood trial for the slaying of 83-year-old Rosa Lee Barnes.

Ms. Barnes was shot to death the night of July 11, 1997, when her home was targeted in a drive-by shooting.

Mr. Lindsey was one of three men arrested and convicted of Ms. Barnes' murder. But his conviction was reversed and he was acquitted at a retrial in March 2000.

Defense attorney Steven Berne told the jury in his opening statement that Mr. Taylor's testimony actually helped Mr. Lindsey. Mr. Taylor testified that he saw two people in the car involved in the drive-by shooting but that neither was Mr. Lindsey, Mr. Berne said.

The Georgia Supreme Court reversed both of Mr. Lindsey's convictions because the juries were allowed to hear improper testimony.

In the trial involving Ms. Barnes' slaying, a witness testified that on the night of the shooting he heard someone in a crowd yell out that Mr. Lindsey was responsible for the drive-by.

In the trial involving Mr. Taylor's slaying, the state's highest court ruled that the prosecutor should not have been allowed to bring out Mr. Lindsey's history of arrests for misdemeanor crimes.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or


JULY 11, 1997: Rosa Lee Barnes is killed when her home is targeted in drive-by shooting

OCTOBER 1997: Mr. Lindsey and two others are convicted of murder in Ms. Barnes' killing

OCTOBER 1999: Mr. Lindsey is granted a new trial by the Georgia Supreme Court

MARCH 2000: Mr. Lindsey is acquitted of murder charge in Ms. Barnes' case

AUG. 11, 2002: Marcus Taylor is shot to death in a gas station parking lot. Mr. Lindsey and two others charged

DECEMBER 2003: Mr. Lindsey convicted of murder in Mr. Taylor's case

SEPTEMBER 2007: Mr. Lindsey is granted a new trial by the Georgia Supreme Court

JAN. 5: Retrial begins for Mr. Lindsey in Mr. Taylor's slaying