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.