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Attorney Phil Cannon: Jazzy Huff acted in self-defense

ALBANY — Albany attorney Phil Cannon, who is representing businessman and accused murderer Jazzy Huff in the Aug. 21 shooting death of one of his employees, Zenas Davis, said Wednesday he is “1,000 percent confident” that the accused “did not act with malice, forethought or meanness” in the shooting outside Huff’s business, Jazzy Movers, on the second floor of the downtown Riverfront Resource Center.

Cannon said he’d interviewed eye witnesses and reviewed audio and video recordings of the incident in preparation for Huff’s defense.

“After interviewing eye witnesses and reviewing evidence gathered at the scene, I am of the opinion that Mr. Huff was justified in pulling that trigger,” Cannon said. “He acted in self-defense.”

Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards said Tuesday he’s confident that a Dougherty grand jury acted properly in handing down indictments for malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

“I have — and I’m sure everyone else has — seen the allegations that have been circulating on social media,” Edwards said. “There’s been a lot of talk about the victim (Davis) having a weapon during the incident. But video footage from the incident shows no indication of the victim having any type of weapon. The grand jury had the best information available — including both audio and video footage and eye-witness reports — when they made their decision.

“I think this indictment was certainly appropriate. And while it’s important to point out that Mr. Huff — like all defendants — is innocent until proven guilty, I’m confident that the grand jury acted appropriately. If the circumstances had clearly pointed to a case of self-defense, of Mr. Huff appropriately standing his ground under state law, I would have made the decision not to prosecute. But that was not the case.”

Cannon, though, said the district attorney’s decision to “rush” the case to the grand jury may end up costing the city and county a significant amount of money.

“I tried to get the district attorney, Mr. Edwards, to give me an opportunity to present the facts in this case before an independent, unbiased magistrate court judge, but his office put on their track shoes and rushed this to the grand jury,” Cannon said. “When I was considering representing Mr. Huff, I interviewed witnesses and watched video of the incident. I made the offer to the DA’s office to take this to an unbiased judge to get a ruling that could have prevented an expensive trial. But he rushed the matter to the grand jury.

“I don’t want to say too much about the particulars of this case, but when someone in that situation is backed into a corner by a man who is about 6 inches taller and has been arguing about the issue (reportedly payroll) for 45 minutes, I think a reasonable person would say that he had no choice but to pull that trigger. I think it’s best for my client that I stop there, but I will say we are prepared to vigorously defend this case.”

In it’s indictment of Huff, the grand jury said on Count 1: “The grand jurors aforesaid, in the name of and on behalf of the citizens of Georgia, charge and accuse Jazzy Jarrell Huff with the offense of malice murder; for that the said accused, in the state of Georgia, Dougherty County, on or about the 21st day of August, 2019, did unlawfully, with malice aforethought, cause the death of Zenas Davis, a human being, by shooting him with a certain handgun contrary to the laws of said state, the good order, peace and dignity thereof.”

The language is similar on counts 2 (felony murder), 3 (aggravated assault) and 4 (possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony).

Edwards said he chose to get the case before the grand jury because he felt the charges and timing were appropriate.

“As it turns out, the grand jury was already in session, and we had all the evidence at hand that we’d use to make our case,” the district attorney said. “After weighing the evidence and the facts of the case, we decided to move forward and get the evidence before the grand jury. I think that was the appropriate action to take in this case.”

No date has been set for Huff’s arraignment, but Edwards said that could come quickly. Once Huff is advised of the charges against him in Dougherty Superior Court, he will enter a plea, and the judge will set a trial date. Edwards acknowledged that if the publicity surrounding the case makes it extremely difficult or impossible for Huff to get a fair trail in Dougherty County, the case would be moved to a community that has “similar demographics” to Dougherty County.

The district attorney said previous change-of-venue trials have been held in Peach, Clayton and Bibb counties.

Georgia again top state for business

ATLANTA – Gov. Brian Kemp today announced that Georgia has been named the “Top State for Business” by Area Development, a leading publication covering corporate site selection and relocation, for the sixth year in a row. The results are determined by the publication’s poll of site consultants.

“I am exceptionally proud that Georgia has once again been named the Top State for Business by Area Development,” Kemp said. “This announcement serves as a powerful testament to what we all know to be true: Georgia is the best place to live, work and raise a family. Our efforts to cut red tape and ensure our business environment leads the nation continue to lure world-class companies to the Peach State from every corner of the map.

“Our world-class work force is a direct result of our top-ranking colleges and universities, and Georgia Quick Start, the best work force development program in the nation. The state’s innovative and comprehensive logistics network makes Georgia a gateway to the global economy by land, air and sea. In the coming years, my administration is committed to building our state’s economic development toolbox so that we continue to attract leading companies in manufacturing, FinTech, information technology, and other industries ready to invest in a state that values their business and positive impact on local communities.”

Area Development’s 2019 Top States for Doing Business results reflect the rankings that states receive based on weighted scores in the following 12 categories: overall cost of doing business, corporate tax environment, business incentives programs, access to capital and project funding, competitive labor environment, shovel-ready sites program, cooperative and responsive state government, favorable general regulatory environment, speed of permitting, favorable utility rates, leading work force development programs, and most improved economic development policies.

“The 10th Annual Best States for Doing Business rankings are drawn from our editor’s poll of leading site location, supply chain, 3PL, real estate and corporate business consultants maintained in our proprietary consultant database,” said Area Development publisher and president Dennis J. Shea. “We poll those consultants who are actively responsible for guiding scores of corporate site location project decisions, billions of dollars in capex, millions of square feet in new construction, and most importantly, creating thousands of new jobs across all 50 states. For the sixth consecutive year, Georgia ranked No. 1 overall in Area Development’s highly regarded annual Best States for Doing Business poll, including top rankings in four of the 12 critical categories measured.”

Along with the Top State ranking, Georgia was ranked No. 1 in cooperative and responsive state government, leading work force development programs, competitive labor environment and speed of permitting.

“We are honored to receive the title of Top State for Business for the sixth year in a row,” Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson said in a news release. “Each day, our team is out on the front lines, working with companies to spread the good news of Georgia’s top-ranked business climate, and because of Gov. Kemp’s strong leadership, they certainly have a lot to talk about.

“Whether it is our logistics infrastructure, work force or pro-business climate, there are so many factors that play into an honor like this one, and none of it would be possible without the tremendous support we have from our economic development partners in every community throughout Georgia.”

Jaquan Oliver enters guilty plea for death of Alex Mixon
Defendant receives life with possibility of parole in death of delivery driver

ALBANY — Jaquan Oliver, one of six defendants in the case connected to the fatal shooting of Alex Mixon, entered a guilty plea before Dougherty Superior Court Judge Willie Lockette this morning.

Oliver entered the plea for felony murder. He has been sentenced to life with the possibility of parole.

Mixon, 27, was a delivery driver for Loco’s Pub and Grill when, on Nov. 24, 2018, he was lured to a vacant address on West Broad Avenue to make a delivery. When he arrived, Mixon was shot in the neck.

He died a short time later at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.

Counterfeit money was found to be connected to the incident, and bond was denied to all six defendants. Jacquarious Oliver and Jaylen Miller have also entered guilty pleas in connection to the case.

Assistant District Attorney Hal Malroz said the phone of Miller’s mother was used to make the order that Mixon was attempting to deliver. The gun used in the shooting was found hidden in a cereal box, and several of the defendants made incriminating statements to investigators, Malroz said.

Malroz said Jaquan Oliver was a gang member. There was speculation shortly after the incident that Mixon’s death may have been gang-related.

Lockette also ordered Jaquan Oliver to pay a $2,000 fine, plus $5,500 in restitution for the damage to Mixon’s car as well as funeral expenses. The funds are to be paid to Mixon’s estate.

Lockette also said Jaquan Oliver has a limited right to appeal, which he is to request within 30 days if he wishes to do so. He could also get assistance from a public defender in an appeal.

The defendant also confirmed to the judge that he had never been issued a weapons carry license.

Mixon’s family opted not to make a statement at this morning’s plea hearing.

A trial in the case is still expected to start Monday. The remaining defendants are Jacquanious Oliver, Iren Carter and Mickee Carter.