Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Capital Murder Verdict Returned In Auburn Football Player Murders

((HT: WTVM-TV/OANow.com, Taylor))

Desmonte Leonard was found guilty in the capital murders three people- two of them former Auburn University football players. DeMario Pitts, along with Lowndes High grad Ed Christian and Ladarious Phillips were shot and killed at an Auburn, Alabama apartment complex in an incident in June 2012. Three others were injured in the shootings.

Lee County (AL) jurors found Leonard guilty on all but one of the six charges stemming from the shooting:

2nd degree assault for the shooting of Eric Mack
2nd degree assault for the shooting of Xavier Moss
1st degree assault for the shooting of John Robertson
The attempted murder of DeAngelo Benton
Capital murder for "killing two or more people in the same act"- Christian and Phillips

Leonard was found not guilty for attempted murder.

For the Taylor recap of the case that brought Leonard to trial:

During the trial, witness testimony indicated that prior to the shooting, Leonard had gotten involved in an altercation with former Auburn football player DeAngelo Benton, who instigated the quarrel.

Leonard’s attorneys contended Leonard feared for his life and fired the gun in self-defense. However, prosecutors argued Leonard was never in real danger and exhibited goal-oriented behavior during the shooting.

Without giving much detail, Leonard said she and Leonard’s other attorneys had a plan for how to present evidence to the jury to not give him the death penalty.

Here's Sharonda Woods, a sister of one of those who were murdered, discussing the verdict after everyone exited the courthouse
WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather

Wednesday, a jury begins the process of deciding the death penalty or life in prison without parole for Leonard.

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