RUSSELL COUNTY, Ala. (WRBL)— The fate of a man accused of shooting and killing another in an unlicensed Phenix City night club still hangs in the balance. WRBL was the only media in the Russell County court room Tuesday afternoon when the trial came to an end.
‘Hopelessly deadlocked,’ that’s how the jury described themselves moments before Judge Walter Gray declared a mistrial.
Jaquandre Bowen is accused of shooting and killing Keon Simmons in March 2020. The trial began last Monday. Jurors deliberated for roughly nine hours spread across two days before deciding they could not come to a unanimous verdict.
They were charged with deciding whether Bowen was guilty of murdering Simmons. Jurors were also considering lesser charges of manslaughter.
“I just don’t see how manslaughter fits in this case. Keon Simmons was shot seven times, twice in the head,” Russell County District Attorney Rick Chancey told WRBL. “Manslaughter is a reckless event. I don’t see how this could be anything other than intentional. So, I don’t know if they just weren’t sure they had enough evidence to say he was guilty. We thought we presented overwhelming evidence that he was guilty. But I respect the juror’s decision.”
Here’s how both sides responded to the mistrial.
“We’ll look back over and revisit everything we presented, and how we presented it, and what order it was presented. There was a lot of evidence that was submitted without actually playing it,” Chancey said. “It was submitted and given to the jurors to take back and look at it. We’ll revisit that as a strategy and maybe we play it all, not just submit it as an exhibit, but play all of it. For the most part, whatever’s on those exhibits and whatever was admitted, we gave them everything we had.”
“We take that as a win. There were members of the jury that listened to all of the evidence, and they did not see it the way the state presented it,” Montgomery Defense Attorney Jennifer Holton said. “It’s the state’s burden, and they didn’t meet that burden. They did not meet that burden by all of the jury panel members. We take that as a win. Mr. Bowen, continues to assert that he is not guilty of these charges.”
Holton plans to continue and represent Bowen when the case is retried.
“We just appreciate the jurors that held true to their beliefs. We can understand that different people have different beliefs, and that’s what makes our justice system work,” Holton told WRBL.
Bowen, who has been in jail since 2020, was denied bond. The judge ordered he remain in custody until a new trial date is set.
Chancey told WRBL Judge Gray will move this trial to the top of his next docket, which is set for October.