By Linda Looney-Bond
A jury is expected to continue deliberations Monday, in the case of a former Morehouse College student on trial in Clayton County Superior Court for allegedly participating in the 2006 torture-murder of a fellow Morehouse student.
The jury began deliberating late Friday afternoon in the case against Breylon Garland, 24, of College Park.
During the trial Friday, Garland took the stand in his own defense. He testified that he was forced to participate in the incident, by a co-defendant who indicated he had a gun.
Garland testified that he was a junior, majoring in psychology at Morehouse, at the time of the incident.
Garland is accused in the beating, stabbing, and eventual killing of Carlnell Walker, 23, of Riverdale.
Co-defendant Miles Allen, 24, was convicted Aug. 28 of participating in Walker's murder. Clayton County Superior Court Judge Deborah Benefield sentenced Allen to two life terms in prison, plus 70 years.
Co-defendants Keith Roberts and Theodore Holliman will be tried separately in the case, later, according to Clayton County Executive Assistant District Attorney Jason Green.
According to prosecutors, the co-defendants tortured Walker over several hours one night in June, 2006, at Walker's home on Glenshire Court in Riverdale. Prosecutors said the men did not leave until the following morning, after they had bound Walker, gagged him, and dumped him in the trunk of a car in the garage, leaving him there to die.
Walker's body was discovered July 8, 2006, according to testimony in the case.
On Thursday, Holliman testified for the prosecution. He told the court that they went to Walker's house to confront Walker, because Roberts said Walker owed him money.
While testifying in the case Friday, Garland said he joined in the attack on Walker because he was afraid for his life.
"The only reason I was there [Walker's house] was for the simple fact, I felt I couldn't leave," Garland said. He said that Roberts threatened him with a gun, by gesturing as though he had a gun under his shirt.
Holliman, however, testified Thursday that Roberts did not have a gun, and that Garland willingly participated in the beating and stabbing of Walker.
During cross-examination of the defendant Friday, Green asked Garland whether Roberts actually said that he had a gun.
"He indicated to me that he did. No, he didn't say it out of his mouth," Garland answered.
"So you hadn't seen a gun, and he had not referenced a gun?" Green asked.
"I thought there was a gun there," Garland said.
Green continued, "So despite all of these things that Carlnell was put through, and the resistance he put forth ... a gun was never used on him?"
"No," Garland responded.
"But you were the one that was threatened with a gun? Does that make sense to you? Do you expect it to make sense to the jury?" Green asked.
"I don't know what to expect the jury might do," Garland said.
During closing arguments Friday, Green told the jury that not only was there no evidence that Garland was in fear for his life during the beating of Walker, he said Garland took the time to call in to his job at UPS to say he could not come to work.
Prosecutors produced phone records from Garland's cell phone that showed he called the human resources department at UPS at 2:36 a.m., on June 21, 2006, the morning of the attack on Walker.
Earlier, Garland had testified that he was scheduled to be at work at 3 a.m., the morning following the incident.
"The defendant calls in to work to let them know he won't be able to make it. Where's the coercion? He calls the job - but not help?" Green said to the jury.
Green then played a portion of a videotape in which Garland admitted to Clayton County Police that he called UPS from Walker's home the day of the incident.
Also during closing arguments in the case, Garland's defense attorney, Robert Mack, told the jury that his client was forced by Roberts to participate in the attack on Walker.
"All of the evidence points to coercion," Mack said. "Three against one, what do you do? One has a gun, the other has a knife, what are you going to do?"