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Attorneys argue over jury verdict in Augusta murder case

Jury fails to get verdict on single charge

Monday, June 17, 2013 7:26 PM
Last updated Tuesday, June 18, 2013 1:18 AM
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A Richmond County man will be retried after a jury failed to reach a verdict on one charge against him.

Devin Washington’s defense attorney, Jacque Hawk, insisted Monday that his client should not stand trial a second time, but Judge Sheryl B. Jolly agreed with the prosecutor and denied the motion. The verdict announced in court was that the jury deadlocked on the charge of felony murder and the judge declared a mistrial on that count of the indictment.

Hawk pointed out that the jury’s written verdict form said it found Washington not guilty of felony murder, but couldn’t reach a unanimous decision on the lesser offense of voluntary manslaughter. Any retrial should be on the manslaughter charge, not murder, he said.

Hawk also wanted to present three jurors – who said the vote was to acquit Washington of felony murder – as witnesses, but Assistant District Attorneys Natalie Paine and Hank Syms objected.

Once published in court, a verdict is final and cannot be impeached, and allowing jurors to second-guess their decision afterward would create a never-ending circuit, they countered.

Hawk said jurors weren’t changing their decision, only seeking to make it clear.

“What are you so afraid of?” he asked.

Washington, 20, and former co-defendant Marcus Washington, 23, were tried together last month on murder and weapon charges for the July 5 death of 22-year-old Pr’shawn Williams, who was shot during a gun battle between the men outside a Gordon Highway club.

Marcus Washington was acquitted on malice and felony murder charges. Both men were convicted of weapon violations. Marcus Washington was sentenced to three years in prison and two additional years on probation. Devin Washington, who was on probation for aggravated assault at the time of the slaying, was sentenced to five years in prison.

Hawk said he would seek an appellate court decision on the issue, but Jolly would have to grant permission for that. Devin Washington is scheduled to stand trial on the felony murder charge next week.

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JRC2024 06/17/13 - 09:42 pm
Let it stand for a retrial on

Let it stand for a retrial on the felony murder charge. It is time these people realize that guns are not the answer to a disagreement. Violent people need to be in jail for a long time.

jkline 06/18/13 - 02:56 am
More important than one case

It appals me that the US has evidently thrown out the ancient rule that a man is not to be tried twice for the same offense. This principle is more important than the zeal to punish. What I see more and more is the mentality of the police state.

Dixieman 06/18/13 - 06:48 am
To jkline

Double jeopardy has NEVER applied to cases where the jury is deadlocked (hung) and a mistrial is declared. And what is announced in open court prevails over what is on any piece of paper used by the jury. Odd case, but nothing new.

nocnoc 06/18/13 - 07:50 am
Usually these cases will be

Usually these cases will be appealed and appealed either until the $$$$ runs out, or the Lawyers (both sides) don't see the publicity in it anymore.

But a great question no one seems to want to touch on.

Where is all this legal $$$$ coming from?

Even if the lawyer is a Public Defender... WE the taxpayers are footing the bill.

Darby 06/18/13 - 11:50 am
"the US has evidently thrown out the ancient

rule that a man is not to be tried twice for the same offense."

It's NOT an "ancient rule", it's the law, established in the Constitution of The United States.

However, there was no first trial, technically speaking....

There was, on the other hand, a mistrial and therefore, there can be no double jeopardy.

Devin's mother
Devin's mother 06/18/13 - 02:18 pm
all who seem to think they know this case and person so well

DOUBLE JEOPARDY LAW does apply here, when the Judge takes it upon herself and change a jury verdict sheet to what she wants to declare, yes it differently applies. To NOCNOC, I have read your comments, everytime my son's story comes up you feel the need to comment well here is my reply, Devin is a good kid and not a gang banging thug as you say, maybe made some bad choices, but you pulling up a quote that was in a guessbook from my late husband death was a little below the belt. I invite you to attend the new trial if there is one and hear the full detailed story for yourself and you will discover that in your little town there was/is nothing but full jealousy. People like you judge before even knowing the entire truth.

Darby 06/19/13 - 05:38 pm
Now our perp's mom

is practicing law?? What a strange world we live in...

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