Crime & Courts

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Murder trial deliberations begin Wednesday

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 7:11 PM
Last updated 9:24 PM
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Jurors will begin deliberating this morning in the murder trial of Desmond Anthony, who is accused of shooting 20-year-old Sam Carroll Jr. on Nov. 28, 2010.



Testimony in the trial showed that Carroll was shot during a drug deal about 9 p.m. at Fairway Village Apartments on Richmond Hill Road.

But there are conflicting accounts of who was dealing and selling and who initiated the robbery among Carroll, Jamar Woodard, Anthony and his co-defendant, Pierre Horton. In closing statements, Anthony’s attorney, Maureen Floyd, reinforced her contention that Woodard and Carroll planned to rob Anthony and that her client fired a shot in self defense. Horton did not testify and has not gone to trial for his own charges.

Woodard testified, but gave different stories to Richmond County sheriff’s investigators.

“The fact that he lied over and over is in itself substantive evidence that what he is saying is not to be believed,” Floyd said.

Assistant District Attorney Laura Stewart pointed out that Anthony made no effort to report what happened until he learned he was a suspect in the homicide.

Also Tuesday, jurors found Desmond Coley guilty in a Dec. 15 armed robbery outside Paul’s IGA on Greene Street. The state’s case portrayed Coley as a drug dealer who pointed a handgun and demanded money from James Watkins, who had approached Coley about buying drugs.

Coley took the stand to defend himself and admitted Tuesday to selling cocaine and marijuana, saying it was how he supported his daughter. When Watkins told him he didn’t have any cash, Coley said he flashed the weapon tucked into his waistband to prove he was serious about getting his money. In Watkins’ version of events, he was driven at gunpoint to his mother’s business, where he was to get the money.

But Coley disputed that Tuesday, saying he was only concerned about getting paid for the drugs. When they arrived at Sandy Watkins’ restaurant, James Watkins jumped out of the car, yelling “Run, he’s got a gun.”

“I panicked,” Coley testified. “I didn’t know what was going to happen.”

Coley drove off in the car and hid in a nearby vacant apartment, where deputies found him with the car keys. Coley was charged with hijacking a motor vehicle, but was convicted of the lesser charge of felony theft by taking. He was also convicted of armed robbery, kidnapping, possession of a firearm in the commission of a crime, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm by a first offender.

He will be sentenced Thursday.


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