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Jury acquits in River Glen homicide case

Friday, May 2, 2014 4:45 PM
Last updated 10:15 PM
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The young man accused of committing the first homicide in River Glen apartments in 2012 was acquitted of murder Friday.

A Richmond County Superior Court jury deliberated more than two hours before finding Christopher Smith, 26, not guilty of murder and possession of a firearm in the death of 24-year-old Doniel Hicks.

Two of the four eye-witnesses to the shooting refused to testify in court this week — one was Hicks’ close friend, Michael McCorkle, and the second was the brother of the man McCorkle is accused of killing in retaliation for Hicks’ slaying. McCorkle and Trevaughn Jones refused to tell the jury what they had told sheriff investigators because they feared being labeled as snitches, Assistant District Attorney Laura Stewart said in her closing argument.

The environment of fear and indifference must end or the killing will not stop, Stewart argued.

Defense attorney Lee Prescott of the public defender’s office argued that Smith fired at Hicks and McCorkle only after McCorkle fired first. McCorkle was the one who ran River Glen and scared everyone, Prescott said.

While the Jones brothers and other potential witnesses were at the sheriff’s office after Hicks’ slaying, the Jones’ home was shot up by McCorkle’s associates, Prescott said. Trevaughn Jones was trying to protect himself, which is reasonable all considered, Prescott said.

Smith testified Hicks robbed him at gunpoint in November 2011 and again the following month. He bought a gun to protect himself.

When he encountered Hicks and McCorkle and McCorkle pulled a gun, saying “give it up”, Smith was legally justified in shooting back, Prescott said.

But the witnesses who saw it all — Trevaughn Jones and McCorkle — told sheriff investigators Smith was the one who confronted Hicks and fired first, the prosecutor countered. And Hicks was the one who was shot in the back.

Stewart told the jury that she wasn’t trying to paint McCorkle as innocent, saying his trial will be another day.

TIMELINE
  • Jan. 14, 2012: Doniel Hicks, 24, fatally shot
  • Feb. 5, 2012: Truemaine Jones, 27, fatally shot
  • Nov. 11, 2012: Demetrius Moore, 21, fatally shot
  • Dec. 1, 2012: DeJohn Grant, 20, fatally shot
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dichotomy
32136
Points
dichotomy 05/02/14 - 05:11 pm
15
1
Jan. 14, 2012: Doniel Hicks,

Jan. 14, 2012: Doniel Hicks, 24, fatally shot;

Feb. 5, 2012: Truemaine Jones, 27, fatally shot;

Nov. 11, 2012: Demetrius Moore, 21, fatally shot;

Dec. 1, 2012: DeJohn Grant, 20, fatally shot;

Sounds to me like they should have just let them keep going and arrested the last one standing. It would have saved the money of prosecuting a weak case and losing, and the results would have been 99% permanent.

raul
4626
Points
raul 05/02/14 - 05:57 pm
4
0
So can they charge the

So can they charge the witnesses for refusing to testify,(understanding they have the right to plead the 5th against self incrimination).

Pops
7782
Points
Pops 05/02/14 - 07:27 pm
12
0
Sounds like one big ball

of confusion. More waste of taxpayer money trying to get to the bottom of this bucket of human sludge......."it's a madhouse"......

GiantsAllDay
9424
Points
GiantsAllDay 05/02/14 - 07:45 pm
5
4
Laura Stewart lost a murder

Laura Stewart lost a murder case to a public defender. Not exactly a career enhancer.

corgimom
31468
Points
corgimom 05/02/14 - 07:57 pm
10
4
Laura Stewart isn't a miracle

Laura Stewart isn't a miracle worker, when people refuse to testify, what is she supposed to do?

Dixieman
14425
Points
Dixieman 05/02/14 - 08:02 pm
10
1
First time I agree with corgimom!! Alert the media!!

You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Lawyers have to do the best they can with the facts and witnesses available to them -- like a card player doing the best with the cards dealt him or her. Loss of this case is no reflection on Ms. Stewart.

nocnoc
41344
Points
nocnoc 05/02/14 - 08:05 pm
9
0
Charge Those that refused to Testify

There is no 5th for witnesses.

GiantsAllDay
9424
Points
GiantsAllDay 05/02/14 - 08:09 pm
4
4
A PD is just one step above

A PD is just one step above representing yourself.

freeradical
1071
Points
freeradical 05/02/14 - 09:03 pm
5
2
Gosnelled to Gunshots

To liberals nothing is cheaper than black life .

If we do not Gosnell them at the git go we will assign them

a public housing bullet with their own personal name on it .

Today's plantation system would leave the original democrat

slaveholders in awe .

Saves them all the heavy lifting .

bohica
318
Points
bohica 05/02/14 - 10:43 pm
9
0
A witness should stand up

A witness should stand up like any other law abiding citizen and then get out of the hood life. C'mon people do the right thing. I bet we'll be seeing all the witnesses in the obits soon anyway, for what, not being labled a snitch. What's the average age of thugs living the dream life 18 to 26 or so ?

Riverman1
82441
Points
Riverman1 05/03/14 - 07:07 am
6
0
Cousins Are Everywhere

GAD, it looks like the public defender did pretty well in this case. But about the thinking of those who live in those neighborhoods realize things are not so cut and dried. I knew a janitor where I used to work who lived downtown. He told me when you live among people who are often involved in crime you had to be careful that you weren't labeled a snitch. Cousins are everywhere.

nocnoc
41344
Points
nocnoc 05/03/14 - 08:21 am
7
0
Cousins are everywhere?

So if they are family (cousins) then why are they shooting each other as much as 7X more that poor white families?

"A cousin is a relative with whom a person shares one or more common ancestors."

Doesn't this mean the breeding is getting to close to the tree trunk?
Doesn't inbreeding inject gene issues, mental issues, and infertility?

LillyfromtheMills
13019
Points
LillyfromtheMills 05/03/14 - 08:17 am
6
0
Could the criminals

Be catching on? Don't take a plea, you will win in court because there is never enough evidence beyond a reasonable doubt?

seenitB4
85748
Points
seenitB4 05/03/14 - 08:41 am
7
0
The new plantation life

No, it isn't the white masta anymore...it is the thug masta...you still live in bondage & still dying needlessly.

Carolina81
6
Points
Carolina81 05/03/14 - 10:28 am
4
0
Lee Prescott

I don't know anything about the fact of this case other than what I read in the paper. But I do know Lee Prescott. He worked for me before the PD's office. He is a fine attorney and any defendant, rich or poor, would be fortunate to have him as defense counsel.

zippy
250
Points
zippy 05/04/14 - 11:10 am
1
0
agree

Lee Presott is a good attorney. Most public defenders have poor reputations because they are young and inexperienced. Lee has been practicing for more than ten years. He does a great job. Wouldn't be surprised if we see him in private practice one day.

willie Lee
419
Points
willie Lee 05/04/14 - 08:21 pm
0
0
The 5th
Unpublished

Not correct nocnoc. Any person, even a witness can invoke the 5th amendment if they believe it will incriminate them for any wrong doing.

grinder48
1888
Points
grinder48 05/06/14 - 11:38 am
0
0
Give 'em All Free Guns
Unpublished

Give all of them free guns, put 'em in a cage and let 'em all kill each other. Problem solved ...

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