Originally created 02/12/99

Jurors say man is guilty

A Hephzibah man was convicted on assault and firearms charges Thursday after a trial in which he admitted shooting another man but claimed self-defense.

Tony Carter Green, 35, was found guilty by a Richmond County Superior Court jury on charges of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

The charges stemmed from an October dispute between Mr. Green's brother and the shooting victim, Robert Johnson, about the paternity of a child of a woman both men had dated.

Mr. Green told the jury that Mr. Johnson had threatened them during the argument.

He also testified that he saw a gun in Mr. Johnson's pocket as Mr. Johnson rushed at him after the argument. He feared for his life, he said.

Mr. Johnson, who displayed the scars where he was shot in the throat with a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol, denied carrying or owning a gun and said he never threatened the brothers, he just argued with them.

"The defendant (Mr. Green) wants you to believe that offending someone, that cussing them out, is a death penalty offense -- and it's not," Assistant District Attorney Michael Carlson said.

During the trial, Mr. Carlson asked Mr. Green if it was easier to stay and shoot the other man or to leave the house where the argument took place.

Mr. Green responded that the owners of the house -- where all three men were visiting -- should have called police when threats were made.

Defense attorney Clayton Jolly told Superior Court Judge Bernard J. Mulherin that Mr. Green planned to plead guilty to a third charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Mr. Green has previous convictions on burglary and cocaine possession charges, court documents show.


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