A Fulton County judge denied bond Wednesday for the 21-year-old suspect in the Sept. 3 shooting death of Spelman sophomore Jasmine Lyn.
Judge Karen Woodson said she is concerned Devonni Benton could be dangerous to others and may threaten witnesses in the case.
One of the 20 relatives and friends who came to the Wednesday morning bond hearing sobbed at the pronouncement that Benton would remain in jail while the charges were pending.
“He didn’t do it,” said his aunt, with whom Benton lived while taking computer classes at ITT Technical Institute.
Benton was indicted Friday on murder charges. He also is accused of being a member of a gang based on some writings on a notebook in the bag he dropped, Assistant District Attorney Jack Barr said during the hearing.
Police said Benton and his friends were near the Clark Atlanta University campus when they got into a fight with a group of students on Sept. 3.
Shots were fired.
One bullet struck Lynn, 19, as she was walking with a friend down James P. Brawley Drive near the AUC library on the Clark campus. Another hit 18-year-old Clark Atlanta student Jerome Jones in the wrist.
In court, defense attorney Jackie Patterson argued that the letters “SPC,” which were written on one of Benton’s notebooks, could mean anything and was not necessarily an indication he was a member of the Shady Park Crew street gang.
Assistant District Attorney Eleanor Ross said there was additional “evidence of gang activity” against Benton.
Patterson has said Benton was not the shooter but he was with the man who fired at the group. Patterson said Benton initially didn’t name the shooter out of loyalty.
His aunt, Sheila Kitchens, said the family had given the name of the man but only after Benton was arrested during class three days later.
“He didn’t shoot her,” Kitchens said after the hearing. “An innocent man is sitting in jail.”