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Brown acquitted in pub death

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

A Henry County jury has found a former bouncer "not guilty" of all counts in the death of a man outside a McDonough bar.

Charles Edward Brown, 45, was acquitted Tuesday in Henry County Superior Court. He had been charged with malice murder, felony murder and voluntary manslaughter in the March 2009 death of 22-year-old Gregory Ryan Gilliam.

The jury of five women and seven men began their deliberations late Friday afternoon, and continued all day Tuesday. The panel reached a unanimous decision of not guilty on all counts at 5:20 p.m., according to Brown's defense attorney, Ricky Morris.

"I think that justice was served," said Morris. "There is never a winner or a loser. Regardless of which side of the courtroom you sat on, Ryan Gilliam still lost his life."

The prosecution sought to prove, during the trial, that Brown intentionally caused Gilliam's death, during a fight outside the Irish Bred Pub on March 8, 2009. The pub, at the time of the incident, was located at 716 Ga. Highway 155 South.

The state claimed the fight followed a confrontation the victim had with a waitress in the pub at closing time. Prosecutors alleged that Brown killed Gilliam by stabbing him.

Morris countered the state's assertions, by arguing that his client, a former bouncer at the pub at the time of the incident, acted in self-defense. Brown's attorney said Gilliam attacked Brown, resulting in a brawl also involving nine other men.

The defense lawyer said the task which faced the jury was not an easy one.

"I know it was a difficult verdict," said Morris. "The jury exercised care and caution, in reaching the conclusion that the state of Georgia failed to prove that the defendant was guilty of malice murder, felony murder or voluntary manslaughter."

Morris said he is "completely, 100 percent satisfied" with the outcome of the case.

Henry County District Attorney Tommy Floyd, and Assistant District Attorney Jim Wright, who argued the state's case, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Brown was originally charged, as well, with two counts of aggravated assault in connection with Gilliam's death. He was indicted on all five charges on May 28, 2009.

Judge Stephen Boswell, who presided over the trial, removed the assault counts from the jury's consideration, before deliberations began.