COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — The fate of two men accused of the April 2020 shooting death of Quincey Atkins is now in the hands of a Muscogee County Superior Court jury.
Ty’Shaun Sylvester and Jessie Harper are charged in connection with Atkins’ death. They are facing murder, armed robbery, gun and drug charges.
The shooting that killed Atkins happened on April 18th, 2020 on Cusseta Road near Betjeman Drive.
Teresa, Phil, the case went to the jury at about 3:30 Friday afternoon. By 4, Judge John Martin had sent the jurors home for the weekend. Deliberations will start in earnest Monday morning.
What this has come down to is the credibility of the state’s key witnesses, who say they were robbed at gunpoint by Sylvester and Harper just before Atkins was shot to death.
Atkins and his friends were trying to purchase an assault weapon from Sylvester and Harper.
The state rested its case late Thursday afternoon after three days of witness testimony. The defense attorneys rested without presenting any evidence on Friday morning. Sylvester’s defense attorney William Kendrick spent much of his closing argument attacking the credibility of the state’s key witnesses – Dwayne Jackson and Anthony McGhee. Time and again, he called them liars.
He mocked the two witnesses during his closing, playing to the jury from inside the witness box.
“We all saw, ‘Yeah, I ain’t seen nothing. … Man, I don’t … And they let me take my urn, charm off. And I put it in my pocket,’ Kendrick argued. “Does that strike y’all as somebody who’s telling the truth? Would Miss (Prosecutor, Sadhana) Dailey give her keys to this individual and let them go take the car to the carwash? Or would she send a police escort? Ain’t no way she believed that. “
Then he turned his mockery to McGhee.
“You couldn’t even get a word out of him,” Kendrick said. “Is that respect for the court? Is that respect for the legal process? If you ask anybody questions in any other life situation you have ever been in and they reacted and sat and talked to you like that, would you believe them? Would you put these two young men’s lives in their hands?”
Dailey made it clear to jurors that Jackson and McGhee testified under duress.
“The defense made a big deal about the two surviving victims – Jackson and McGhee,” she said in her closing argument. “Yeah, they were reluctant to testify because they are scared to death. … And who would not be? Who would not be scared to death seeing their friend Quincey gunned down by those two murders? Who wouldn’t be scared to death to come in and face the two murders? It’s understandable. They didn’t want to testify. But they did.”
The reason for letting the jury go home was one juror had a conflict in the late afternoon and Judge Martin told that juror Thursday he would accommodate him. The juror ended up being an alternate, but the expectation of an early release caused the jurors to send Martin a message asking how long they would go.
Martin decided to bring the jury back fresh on Monday.