THOMASVILLE — The Georgia Supreme Court affirmed a 2015 conviction of murder and other crimes at a Cairo business, with all justices concurring.
The high court affirmed the murder conviction of Delaljujuan Jones, who was convicted of murder in the death of Stanley Hill and of three counts of aggravated assault in the 2015 case.
According to the Supreme Court decision released Monday, Jones contended the trial court erred when evidence presented at his September 2015 trial was insufficient to sustain three convictions. Jones also contended the trial court erred when it denied his request to charge the jury on the defense of justification.
Jones contended he was denied effective assistance of counsel when his trial counsel did not present evidence that the victim and others at the scene were gang members.
Jones was convicted in Grady County Superior Court in September 2015, and sentenced to life without parole for malice murder and three consecutive 20-year terms for aggravated assault on people in the crowd where the crimes occurred.
On Jan. 17, 2015, Jones and his stepbrother, Alvin Price, along with several others, traveled from Havana, Florida, to Cairo to attend a car show. Afterward, a crowd of those attending the event gathered at the parking lot of Cairo Mart gasoline station.
The Supreme Court's decision quotes a witness as saying, "There was a lot of music, dancing, drinking and people showing off their cars."
At the murder scene, an argument broke out among some of the people, including Price. Hill punched Price, and Jones immediately pulled out a gun and fired several shots in Hill's direction.
A bystander video-recorded most of the incident on his cell phone. The video was played at trial.
As the argument with Price appeared to intensify, Hill suddenly came from the side and punched or shoved Price, who fell back toward Jones. Jones immediately pulled out a gun and began shooting at Hill.
Seven shots in rapid succession are heard on the video. An autopsy revealed that Hill was struck twice, in an arm and in his lower abdomen, causing a massive hemorrhage resulting in his death.
According to the decision, the three people struck by stray bullets were not involved in the altercation and testified at trial.
Some evidence suggested someone other than Jones might have been responsible for a second round of gunfire that occurred minutes after the first. Testimony from the victims and other evidence shows they were shot during the first round of gunfire for which Jones was solely responsible, according to the Supreme Court's decision.
Jones' claim of self-defense was denied.
"And while Jones argues that there was an air of tension between the Florida men and the local residents and that there was some evidence of gang affiliation among members of the crowd, he offers no evidence that he himself observed or perceived any threat, gang-related or otherwise, that would have justified the use of deadly force," Justice Shawn Ellen LaGrua wrote in the court's opinion.
At trial in opening and closing remarks, Jones' counsel argued that several people seen in the video standing at the periphery of the crowd and wearing red hoodies were members of the Bloods gang, which represented a threat to Jones and his group, the decision states.
Aside from testimony that some people at the gathering were flashing gang signals, the defense presented no evidence that anyone there was a gang member, the document continued.
"In addition, the state countered that the defense's argument with evidence that the red clothing merely represented the colors of Cairo High School," Justice LaGrua wrote.
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