A 21-year-old Detroit man has been convicted of first-degree murder.
A jury of seven men and five women convicted Marcus Lamont Young and recommended he be sentenced to life in prison without mercy after 90 minutes of deliberation Wednesday afternoon.
Prosecutors and Young’s defense attorneys all agreed Young shot Terrell Davenport at the West Side Market, in Charleston, just after noon on Dec. 14, 2017. Davenport died the next day.
As the shooting spilled outside of the market, a camera stationed at Legion Apartments, across 7th Avenue from the market, filmed the fatal portion of the shooting.
What the attorneys had asked jurors to consider was whether Young premeditated the shooting and whether he acted with malice when he shot Davenport outside of the market after his friend Jaryointe Thomas had shot Davenport inside the market.
The first-degree murder conviction means jurors not only found Young acted with malice in shooting Davenport, but that he had enough time to premeditate the shooting by running outside of the store and shooting Davenport instead of staying inside the store or running away, as a third man who was with Thomas and Young had done.
Kanawha Circuit Judge Tera Salango is scheduled to sentence Thomas and Young on Dec. 12.
The verdict wrapped up a two-day trial during which Kanawha Assistant Prosecutors Maryclaire Akers and Deb Rusnak presented evidence showing Young was the one who fired the shots that proved to be fatal to Davenport.
They asked the jury to convict Young of first-degree murder and recommend no mercy.
“Don’t let the defendant gaslight you into believing that you’re not seeing something that you are,” Akers said as video of the shooting played behind her in the courtroom. “You can see what he does.”
Rusnak and Akers said Young and Thomas shot Davenport after a brief conversation in the West Side Market. Thomas was the first to fire shots inside the store, three of which struck and injured Davenport, but not fatally so.
The surveillance footage showed both Thomas and Young shot at Davenport after he stumbled outside of the store and laid on the ground. Young’s shots struck Davenport in the neck, passing through his spinal cord, and his head, entering below his left ear and stopping against the top right part of his skull.
During closing remarks, Rusnak pointed jurors to a saying that one of Young’s attorneys, Ed Bullman, referred to during opening statements — that it’s “better to be judged by 12 than carried by six.”
“He didn’t care if you would judge him the first time he shot Terrell,” Rusnak said. “He didn’t care if you were going to judge him the second time he shot Terrell. He didn’t care the third time he fired a shot, and he didn’t care that six people would carry Terrell to his grave.”
Young’s defense attorneys, Bullman and Dan Holstein, didn’t dispute Young shot Davenport, but they said he only did so because he believed Davenport was reaching for a gun and may even have been the one to fire shots in the store, the attorneys said.
They asked the jury to consider what Young did as voluntary manslaughter, not murder.
“When somebody intentionally pulls a trigger and someone else dies that is a terrible thing,” Holstein said. “But you have to look at the surrounding circumstances of what happened when you decide what happened and decide, ‘OK, what’s he guilty of?’”
Prosecutors rested their case Wednesday after calling Joe Falligi to the stand. Falligi was one of the first responders who treated Davenport after he was shot, and he said neither he nor his partner saw a weapon near Davenport or concealed in his clothing as they treated him.
Young didn’t testify in his defense Wednesday, and prosecutors didn’t call Thomas as a witness.
The defense rested its case after filing a copy of Thomas’ plea deal as an exhibit.
Thomas pleaded guilty on Oct. 29 to first-degree murder, admitting to his role in Davenport’s death.
Per the terms of Thomas’ plea deal, he was to cooperate with prosecutors and investigators in the case when requested to do so. Thomas’ plea deal also held that prosecutors would recommend he be sentenced to prison for life with mercy, meaning he’d be eligible to have a hearing before the West Virginia Parole Board after he’s served 15 years in prison.
A life with mercy sentence does not guarantee a person will be released from prison on parole after 15 years.
The first day of the trial on Tuesday included testimony from witnesses at the scene, as well as the presentation of a video of the bulk of the shooting, including what prosecutors said was Young and Thomas fatally shooting Davenport as he lay on the ground from three gunshot wounds he suffered inside of West Side Market, commonly referred to as MJ’s.
All of the witnesses who testified in the case said they did not see Davenport with a gun, and no one heard Davenport make any threats or state that he had a gun.
Thomas is incarcerated at Central Regional Jail, and Young is incarcerated at South Central Regional Jail.