Originally created 01/12/01

Homicide trial ends with second mistrial



A four-day murder trial ended Thursday evening in a mistrial, the second in the 1999 homicide case.

The Richmond County Superior Court jury deliberated more than 10 hours but could not reach a unanimous verdict, required by law, in the case of Michael Kidd, 26.

Mr. Kidd admitted he fired the gunshots that killed 23-year-old Ronald Davenport in a parking lot Sept. 17, 1999. But Mr. Kidd has maintained his actions were not criminal because the shots were fired in self-defense as the two men wrestled over a handgun.

But investigators and prosecutors saw what happened that night at the American Legion parking lot on Highland Avenue as murder, an act of revenge for Mr. Davenport's alleged assault on Mr. Kidd's sister in August 1999.

"He killed and then he lied. That shows what was in his heart," Assistant District Attorney Michael Carlson told the jury Wednesday in his closing argument.

But defense attorney Peter Johnson countered in his closing argument to the jury that the real question that answers what happened that night concerns the gun. "The real issue here is who brought that gun into play," Mr. Johnson said.

He argued that no evidence was presented this week to show Mr. Kidd had ever owned a .380-caliber pistol, but there was evidence that Mr. Davenport owned such a weapon, Mr. Johnson said.

Mr. Kidd told the jury Wednesday that he and Mr. Davenport ended up in a physical struggle over control of a handgun Mr. Davenport had. He couldn't explain how Mr. Davenport ended up with gunshots to his back, arm and leg.

Mr. Carlson said Thursday he will have Mr. Kidd's case placed back on the trial calendar for a third trial.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226.