Verdre Scott pleaded not guilty in Richmond County Superior Court and after deliberating about an hour, the jury agreed with him.
Scott was accused of murder in the Dec. 12 death of his friend 16-year-old Martez S. Davis.
Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Easterling argued to the jury in closing that because Scott and Davis were attempting to rob another teen – 18-year-old James Gibbons – and Davis was killed in the process, Scott was guilty of felony murder.
But as defense attorney Tanya Jeffords brought out in witnesses’ testimony, there was another reason for Davis and Gibbons to exchange gunfire that night: Gibbons believed Davis had stolen a gun from him a day earlier.
Gibbons, who has been convicted of theft and two armed robberies, denied having any dispute with Davis. He testified that he was taking a shortcut near Amsterdam Drive in the Barton Chapel neighborhood when Davis and another teen he knew as “Poochie” tried to rob him.
On cross-examination, however, witnesses testified that Gibbons claimed Davis had stolen a weapon from him.
Physical evidence showed Gibbons was shot twice in the leg. Davis was killed by a gunshot to his back. At the scene, investigators found a single 380-caliber shell casing and seven 40-caliber shell casings.
Gibbons had a 40-caliber handgun that night, he testified. He testified he tossed the gun after the shooting. No guns were found at the scene.