Jury rejects self-defense claim in shooting

Convicted killer Dallas Jarvis Beck, at right, with defense attorney Derek Wright. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

Convicted killer Dallas Jarvis Beck, at right, with defense attorney Derek Wright. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

JONESBORO — Clayton County jurors rejected the self-defense claims of a Riverdale man in the shooting of an unarmed man in August 2012.

Dallas Jarvis Beck, 25, was convicted Friday morning on felony murder charges in the death of Corey “Killer” Liverpool. Beck took the stand Wednesday and told jurors he shot Liverpool in defense of his girlfriend, Lakeya Burroughs.

Beck will be sentenced Thursday and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole. He was a convicted felon at the time of the shooting.

The case was prosecuted by Clayton County Executive Assistant District Attorney Kathryn Powers and Assistant District Attorney Meredith Chafin. Beck was represented by Derek Wright.

The conviction is the third in Clayton County in less than two months where the defendant claimed self-defense in the killing of an unarmed victim. Georgia allows a self-defense claim but there are parameters of that law, said Powers.

“Jurors are clearly rejecting the claims of self-defense,” she said. “You certainly have the authority to act in self-defense but you are not authorized to use excessive force against an unarmed person even if your intent is to defend yourself.”

In Beck’s case, his own testimony and that of witnesses, showed he was inside his apartment when Liverpool walked over from his own unit. There were several steps leading to the shooting at which Beck could have taken action to avoid a deadly confrontation, said Powers.

“He could’ve stayed inside his apartment, he could have stayed in the breezeway, he didn’t have to shoot a man he knew was unarmed,” she said.

Burroughs, who is charged in the case with simple battery and disorderly conduct, testified about a public physical confrontation with Liverpool that had the potential to humiliate him. But she said he just seemed “amused.”

The argument that led to the shooting apparently took place in front of her children and other witnesses at the apartment complex.

“Me and Killer chest-bumped but I don’t remember who started it,” she said. “We were confrontational therefore I don’t remember who started it.”

Burroughs said she may have stuck her finger in his face but didn’t punch him.

“I grabbed his genitals and asked him if he was a (expletive deleted) or a (expletive deleted),” she testified. “And I called him a bitch.”

Burroughs said Liverpool thought it was funny.

“He said he had a (expletive deleted), it was a dirty (expletive deleted) but he had one,” she said. “Then I spit on him. He didn’t hit me, he was amused.”

Burroughs went to high school with Liverpool and remained friends with him into adulthood, she said. He was known to carry weapons and when conflict arose between Liverpool and the couple — all of whom lived in the same complex — both said they feared him.

But Beck took the stand and testified that he could see that Liverpool was unarmed but shot him anyway.

Powers said she thinks the verdict is fair.

“It is clearly based on the evidence,” she said.

The deliberations took its toll on some jurors. A verdict was first reached late Thursday afternoon but during a poll of the panel by Judge Albert Collier, one juror said the verdict was not one the juror reached in deliberations.

Collier sent them home for the night and had them return Friday morning to resume deliberations. After about 30 minutes, they returned with a unanimous decision.

Burroughs’ charges are pending.