Augusta man found not guilty of murder

An Augusta man on trial in a murder case was acquitted Thursday of all charges.

A Richmond County Superior Court jury found Terrell A. Green, 21, not guilty of murder, aggravated assault and weapon violations.

Mr. Green was the last of three men accused of killing John D. Grimes III, 27, one night in July 2006 along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard near 12th Street. His friend, Steve Griffin, who was walking beside Mr. Grimes, was wounded but managed to escape from masked men firing from a passing vehicle.

"What we do know about this case is that it is a mess," defense attorney Victor Hawk told the jury in his closing argument.

Mr. Hawk accused the state witnesses of lies and inconsistencies. He read portions of a letter a co-defendant wrote to Mr. Green -- statements that included apologies for having falsely accused Mr. Green of taking part in the fatal shooting.

But the jury also had a letter Mr. Green wrote to that man, which instructed him on exactly what to say, Assistant District Attorney Hank Syms argued. Mr. Green's letter also mentions how he knows that the co-defendant was recently beaten in jail by other inmates.

The reason for the shooting, said Mr. Syms, was that the shooters thought the victims might have been selling drugs in their territory.

"John Grimes was on Martin Luther King just walking, not doing anything. And he got shot down like a dog. Steve Griffin was lucky to make it out alive," Mr. Syms said.

Alvin L. Scott, 28, and Bryant L. Collier, 21, pleaded guilty this year to aggravated assault for a sentence of 10 years in prison followed by 10 years on probation.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.