UPDATE – A jury has returned a verdict of not guilty on all counts for Tommie Mullins and Dover Coppins in the murder of Branden Denson.

The courtroom was full of mixed emotions; family and friends of the two remaining co-defendants erupted in the courtroom as the verdicts were read: not guilty on all counts. The victim’s mother, Marcia Denson, left the courtroom as the verdicts were still being read saying, “Let’s go. Get me out of here.”

Today, News 3 spoke with defense attorneys for Mullins and Coppins. They built their case on the lack of evidence, and the state’s reliance on Eric Spencer, who recanted his testimony days intro the trial.

“Obviously I’m happy that they found them not guilty. But I’m not surprised, we believed from the very beginning this was a blown case from the prosecution. I mean they had no physical evidence to corroborate Eric Spencer’s testimony. I mean we knew that three and a half years ago, it just took almost four years, actually four years to the date of the incident on Wednesday. It just took four years for the case to finally come to a disposition,” said Stacey Jackson, Tommie Mullins’ Defense Attorney.

“Well, I think the evidence spoke for itself. The jury obviously saw what we saw, that the evidence the state chose to use was a fabrication made by a person and even the state’s presentation who wanted to save himself and people he cared about so he implicated innocent folks in his crimes,” said Shevon Thomas, Dover Coppins’ Defense Attorney.

Acting District Attorney Sheneka Terry was not in the courtroom when the verdicts were read, News 3 was unable to contact her for comments after the trial.


COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — What started with five co-defendants more than two weeks ago, now leaves two co-defendants waiting on their fate to be delivered from a Superior Court jury in the 2018 murder trial of Columbus rapper Branden Denson.

The jury began deliberating just before 4 Monday afternoon.

Deliberations are still ongoing at this time. Judge David Emerson says he will stay until the jury tells him they want to go home, with hopes of wrapping up the case tonight.

This trial started with five co-defendants. On Day 1, Eric Spencer pleaded guilty to lesser charges and got a plea deal to testify for the state against the other four.

Friday, April 1, 2022, Judge Emerson acquitted two co-defendants, Tyree Smith and Jonathan Swift, dismissing both Smith in Swift citing the state had not met the standard of even “slight” evidence.

All prosecutors had against Smith and Swift was Spencer’s testimony, which he recanted days after he first testified.

That left Mullins and Coppins and their attorneys attacked what they deemed the state’s ‘selective narrative.’

Closing arguments finished around 3 p.m., both the state and defense closing arguments centered Eric Spencer.

“When I was in the DA’s office, a person that’s on the scene, a person that’s confessed, a person who’s fingerprint is left on the car. Ten years? What? Make a deal? For 10 years? Are you crazy? He’s the most culpable person? We got you fingerprints at the scene and we are going to give you 10 years,” said Mullins’ attorney Stacey Jackson.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I can assure you, if the state was able to produce a narrative the last person, the last citizen in Columbus, Ga., that we would pick to provide you with state’s narrative would be Eric Spencer. Out of everyone I could have chosen in Columbus it would be Apostle Spencer, Pope Spencer, Doctor Spencer, retired educator Spencer, Engineer Spencer. It would be any other Spencer other than Eric Spencer,” said Acting District Attorney Sheneka Terry.

Now, the jury is deliberating the charges of the two co-defendants left in the case: Tommie Mullins and Dover Coppins.

Both defendants entered not guilty pleas to their indictments of malice murder, felony murder, and armed robbery.

According to the Charge of the Court, Coppins is also charged with possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

The jury was let out for deliberations around 3:45 p.m. After being released, the jury requested to re-watch the surveillance footage from the night of Denson’s murder in 2018.