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Murder case to go to jury

ALBANY, Ga. -- The prosecution put the defense in a Catch-22 situation while summarizing a case for murder against three Albany residents Wednesday.

Tavaress Sinqunce Jackson, 22, Kendrick Lewis Sanders and Lekisha Rhonecia White, both 19, have been on trial in the murder of Dominic Lamar King, 24, on Jan 14.

If, as defense attorneys stated, all three defendants acted to save a friend from harm by King, then the defendants have admitted they participated in a murder, said Matthew Breedon, assistant district attorney.

"Eugene Bell confessed to having a gun and shooting King and he died," Breedon said. "The law is that anyone who is a party to the crime is as guilty as the person who pulled the trigger."

Bell pleaded to murder and was sentenced to life in prison with a chance of parole after 30 years.

The three defendants who were with Bell stand accused of conspiring to kill King, along other charges. Conviction on the murder charge could put the defendant in jail for life.

According to defense attorneys, King arrived at 1910 Meadow Drive armed and ready to hurt Debra Mulkey, who had broken up with him to have a relationship with defendant White.

White called the other defendants, Jackson and Sanders, to come and take her from Mulkey's residence to safety, said White's attorney, Ingrid Driskell. King had a gun to White's head, she added.

Breedon said that wasn't true. The male defendants arrived armed and Bell shot King once in the left side and once in the back while King's gun remained holstered on the right side of his body -- out of Bell's view.

"Not one witness said King had a gun to anyone's head," Breedon said.

To show a conspiracy, Breedon recalled witness testimony that stated about two hours before King came to the residence, White said, "I'm going to shoot him. You think I'm playing?"

In a counter to the conspiracy charge Jackson's attorney, James Finkelstein, placed a quote from Albany Police Department Detective Eddie Jones on a placard during his summation: "We know it wasn't planned. It was something that just happened."

During his summation Breedon took a paper banner with red printing stating "Felony Murder" on it and taped it across the placard. He called the statement made two days after the murder a definition of felony murder.

Catch-22 again. Because it was felony murder and the defendants were a party to the crime, they are just as guilty of the murder, whether they conspired or not, Breedon said.

Finkelstein, Driskell and Sandra Satchell, Sander's attorney, all tried to cast doubt on the prosecution's case in their summations. Did the defendants show up to defend their friends and, in the blink of an eye, Bell acted alone to shoot King down? Or did they show up intending to kill?

The defense attorneys all said that if the intention was to kill, the defendants would not have left King alive on the floor when they fled. Also, the lawyers stated in their summations, the defendants shot up King's car as they fled so he wouldn't follow them.

It will be up to a jury of 12 to decide after Superior Court Judge Willie Lockette explains the law to them Monday. The three-week trial is in recess until Monday because Lockette has a previous professional engagement in Atlanta today and Friday.