Still no verdict in murder trial

By Kathy Jefcoats

Henry County jurors went home a second day Monday without returning a verdict in a murder case against three Atlanta area residents.

Jurors have deliberated more than 10 total hours since getting the case Saturday afternoon. Defendants Seboris Brooks, Antwan Ball and Komeika Clark face multiple murder and aggravated assault charges in the Oct. 20 shooting death of Luis Sutton, 30.

It looked like a verdict might be reached late Monday afternoon when jurors sent out a note asking for the definition of "malice" and "aggravated assault." Craig re-read his jury charge concerning the legal definition of the words. Although they asked for a written definition, jurors had to settle for taking their own notes as Craig spoke.

"If we're able to get these cleared up, we should be able to reach a decision," the foreman told Henry Superior Court Judge Hal Craig just before 5 p.m. so Craig sent them back to the jury room.

However, more than a half hour later, jurors sent word that they "needed to return in the morning." Craig told them to come back today at 9 a.m. to resume deliberations.

Jurors have to consider a total of 15 charges – five against each defendant. They have given no indication as to how the panel is leaning as far as guilt or acquittal.

Defense attorneys Michelle Clark, no relation to the defendant Komeika Clark; David Slemons and Charles Thornton mingled with sheriff's bailiffs, Henry Police detective Wayne Bender and victims advocate Evelyn Roberts Monday as they all waited out the jury.

No one wanted to venture a guess as to what the verdict might be but traditionally, the longer a jury is out, the more favorable it is for defendants. However, it may just be that deliberations are more time-intensive given the number of charges to decide.