JONESBORO — A man accused of a shooting that left his victim paralyzed, was found guilty of the assault in Clayton County Superior Court Wednesday.
A jury made up of six women and six men found Demarques Lee Williams guilty of aggravated assault, and guilty of aggravated battery. Williams, 25, was found not guilty of aggravated assault with intent to rob and not guilty of armed robbery.
Clayton County Superior Court Judge Deborah C. Benefield heard the case and is scheduled to sentence Williams on Sept. 7. Benefield polled each juror, verifying the verdict.
Clayton County assistant district attorneys Jamanda Turner and Bill Dixon prosecuted the case.
One of Clayton County’s assistant public defenders, Ashley Palmer, represented Williams during his trial.
“I can’t say that I am not disappointed about the verdict,” said Palmer. “I am pleased that the jury believed that my client did not intend to rob anybody that evening and I am hopeful that he will receive a lenient sentence from the judge.”
Williams was arrested last year for the Christmas Day shooting of Anthony Porter in the Southern Springs apartment complex off Mt. Zion Boulevard.
Porter testified he and Williams were gambling while playing a dice game in the parking lot when the two men got into an altercation.
“He said something, I wasn’t aware of what he said and when I turned around he had a gun pointed at my head,” explained Porter. “I pushed his arm away and I said, ‘Don’t play with me like that.’ He came back at me and hit me with the pistol. I grabbed him and pulled him close to me. We were tussling. The moment I got shot I fell back. I told him, ‘You hit my spine, I can’t feel my legs.’ ”
Porter told the jury the bullet severed his spine and he was instantly paralyzed. He said the bullet has remained in his spine since.
In Dixon’s closing argument, he told the jury, Williams became angry with Porter.
“Because he was losing money he pulled out a gun and shot him,” said Dixon. “He grabbed that money and he ran. An innocent person does not run, he stays and states his case.”
In her closing argument, Palmer reminded the jury of what she said in her opening statement, her client never denied shooting Porter. She said Williams was acting in self-defense. She described Southern Springs apartments as a “high-crime” area.
“Everybody ran when they heard the gun shot ring out,” said Palmer. “People run when they hear gun shots, that’s a common response. Lots of people out there carried guns. Over 20 times these individuals gambled winning and losing back and forth. All of a sudden you lose $90 and now you want to shoot me because you lost. That just didn’t happen. I am asking you to find him not guilty on all charges.”
Turner told the court in her closing argument that the victim never had a gun.
“Why we can’t believe the defendant, because he was on probation for giving a false name to police. He went AWOL from the military because he ran away,” Turner said.
After the verdict was read in open court, Williams was placed in restraints and escorted out of the courtroom.