Muscogee County Superior Court convicted Tyquez Davis of Felony Murder on Friday morning after nearly seven hours of deliberations.
Davis, 17 at the time, shot 31-year old autistic man Deonn Carter in August of 2016. Carter died 11 days later of complications from the gunshot.
Davis showed little emotion as the jury convicted him on five of the eight counts he faced. Carter’s mother Suzette Ragland sat in the gallery as she had during the entire two-week trial.
She was emotional as the verdict was delivered. Judge Ron Mullins set sentencing for next week, Davis faces life in prison for his actions.
Watching Davis’ nonchalant attitude during the trial finally took its toll on her.
“Very aggravated,” Suzette Ragland said. “Very aggravated. It was like it was a joke to him. I am sorry. My heart breaks for his family. But it was like it was a joke to him. And this was not a joking matter.”
It also aggravated prosecutor George Lipscomb.
“He enjoyed it. I think this was his opportunity to be in the spotlight. This was his chance to be a celebrity. I know on his Facebook page, they were posting — they being his friends — Facebook live accounts of what was going on. I think he thoroughly enjoyed it, up until the verdict.”
Defense attorney Jennifer Curry polled the jury after the verdict was read, requiring each juror to state he or she agreed with the verdict and freely made the decision.
She said she did it after watching two women on the front row reacting as the clerk read the decision.
“My only disappointment is seeing those two jurors that were shaking their heads no and crying as though they did not agree with the verdict,” Curry said. “My concern is always in the jury room their deliberations is any undue influence or someone feeling they are being bullied. So, that’s my only hesitation as to the verdict.”
Carter was a beloved man who worked at Piggly Wiggly and graduated from Columbus High School. He lived with his mother at the time of his death.
“He loved everybody,” Ragland said. “It didn’t matter your race, background, your religion or anything in that nature.”
For Ragland, it was a difficult process.
“I have a lot of mixed emotions right now, but I am happy with the verdict and the people taking their time out and actually listening,” she said. “I don’t much else to say about feelings because it’s an up-down feeling.
“It has been rough. This has been the worst time of my life. I don’t know what to say about the verdict. I haven’t processed it all the way. But they came together. … It gives me some closure, but not all the way.”
“Very aggravated. Ver aggravated. It was like it was a joke to him. I am sorry. My heart breaks for his family. But it was like it was a joke to him. And this was not a joking matter.”