Jury now deliberating in Jamelle Jackson murder case - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Jury now deliberating in Jamelle Jackson murder case


AKRON, Ohio - Attorneys for murder defendant Jamelle Jackson request that the case against him be dismissed for insufficient evidence.

But Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge John Durkin quickly denied their request.

Jackson is one of two men accused of firing the shots that killed Youngstown State University student Jamail Johnson and injured 11 others at an off-campus party back on February 6, 2011.

The murder victim was shot four times by two different weapons according to authorities.

Before delivering closing arguments in the case to the jury, the prosecution put on their final two witnesses who they had been previously unable to locate.

One of the those witnesses was 24-year-old amateur boxer Victor Tonie who was arrested at his work place Wednesday morning after failing to show up to court and testify after he was subpoenaed.

Tonie did testify on Wednesday.

"I guess Jamelle got upset. He pulled out a gun," Tonie said.

Tonie testified that last year that during the early morning hours of February 6th he witnessed the defendant pull out a gun shortly before gunfire erupted at the off-campus fraternity party.

Tonie says he tried to calm Jackson down outside, "I said you don't want to do this. This is unnecessary, and he just put the gun down. Jamelle put it away."

But as the prosecution and the defense rested their case and proceeded to closing arguments, the defense made it clear that while Tonie and others claim they witnessed Jackson with a gun, they also admit they can't identify who pulled the trigger.

Then, attorneys representing Jackson call Tonie's character into question after he admitted on the witness stand that he didn't initially tell police what he knew about the shooting.

Defense Attorney John Ames says, "Here's the kind of guy who doesn't tell police everything. He said it's just a habit. He sat up there and said that. This is a guy who's got a prior gun conviction."

But, prosecutors say one witness after another can place defendant Jackson out on the porch where the gunfire erupted.

Some testified that Jackson had been kicked out of the party after a fight broke out and that Jackson, allegedly armed with a semi-automatic, was very angry.

Even allegedly pointing the gun at one witness according to Assistant Mahoning County Prosecutor Becky Doherty, "They go on that back porch and Jamelle Jackson has a gun, and Jamelle Jackson is pointing that gun at him, telling him that is my boy you hit."

The jury began deliberating at about 3 p.m. on Wednesday and will return at about 9 a.m. on Thursday to continue their deliberations to determine if there's enough evidence to convict Jackson of murder and 11 counts of assault.

The case is being heard in Akron because the judge granted a motion for a change of venue due to the amount of pretrial publicity in the case.

Columbus Jones of Youngstown was convicted earlier this year for his role in the crimes. He's serving 92 years in prison.

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