The fate of Devonni “Devo” Benton, accused of murder in the September shooting death of Spelman student Jasmine Lynn, is now in the hands of a Fulton County jury.
Before Fulton Superior Court Judge T. Jackson Bedford Jr. released the jurors, they heard final arguments calling for them to either convict Benton or give him justice, as defense attorney Jackie Patterson urged, declaring him innocent.
“Mr. Benton wants you to give him justice,” Patterson told the jury as he gestured to the Scales of Justice on the defense table. “There is no way Mr. Benton committed this crime.”
Fulton assistant district attorney Eleanor Ross was nearly choked up as she placed Lynn’s blood-smeared glasses on top of a photo of the slain Spelman College sophomore, displayed for the courtroom from a projector.
“For getting a scholarship, all that hard work paying off … this is what’s left. This defendant may not have intended to kill Jasmine Lynn on the night of Sept. 3. But when he raised that gun and fired into a crowd, he intended to kill.”
Bedford released the jury just after 11 a.m. Friday, with instructions on how to proceed with deliberations.
The six men and six women must now wade through two days of testimony, with a host of witnesses who were found to have been untruthful at some point, either during the investigation or on the witness stand.
The 12 must consider the circumstances of the fight that started early that morning on Clark Atlanta University’s campus, and the six shots that police and witnesses said were fired by a man wearing a Mohawk, a red jacket and khaki shorts, who dropped a tan and red book bag as he fled.
Patterson continued to blame Benton’s friend, Clarence Carter, for the shooting and pleaded with the jury to let his client go free.
“Mr. Benton is asking you to do something he can’t do for himself,” Patterson said. “That is clear his name.”
Lynn’s mother, Constance Franklin, and grandmother, Carolyn Williams, were in tears as Ross completed her summation.
“It’s a miracle that he didn’t kill anyone else,” Ross said to the jury. “Do not let him avoid taking responsibility for what he did.”
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Those We Lost In 2009