Originally created 02/18/99

Deliberations continue in murder trial



Richmond County jurors deliberated for more than 2 1/2 hours without reaching a verdict Wednesday in the murder trial of two Augusta men accused of a bizarre July 4, 1997, drive-by shooting.

The Superior Court jury is scheduled to resume deliberations this morning in the case against Corey Jackson, 25, and Darrell J. Jenkins, 22. Mr. Jackson and Mr. Jenkins face murder, assault and weapons charges in the death of Sherad Cunningham, 20, and the shooting of two of his friends during a car chase through south Augusta.

A previous trial ended in a mistrial a year ago after another jury was deadlocked.

Prosecutors insist the pair are the men who pursued a Mitsubishi minivan from Deans Bridge Road near Regency Mall to 15th Street near T.W. Josey High School, firing an assault rifle at the minivan's occupants.

A day after the shootings, Mr. Jackson was seen driving the Chevrolet Caprice used in the drive-by, which also was used in an earlier assault, officials said. One person in the minivan identified Mr. Jenkins by saying his head was oddly shaped, as the shooter's had been, and that the shooter looked like someone named Darrell whom the victim had gone to school with.

Defense attorneys for both men say the state can't provide the evidence to back up the claim, and both rested their cases Wednesday without calling any witnesses. Neither defendant was identified positively by witnesses of the drive-by, and no evidence places them in the car at the time of the shootings, the attorneys argued.

"Why did I not bring you the alibi witnesses?" Mr. Jackson's attorney, Jack Boone, asked the jury. "Quite frankly, when the state doesn't prove its case, there's no reason to waste your time, the court's time and my time dragging it out."

Alisa DeMao can be reached at (706) 823-3223 or ademao@augustachronicle.com.