South Carolina Jury Find Black Man Who Confessed to Killing White Man Not Guilty of Murder, Spend Less Than 2 Hrs In DeliberationsChris Menahan
May. 31, 2021
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Devon Dontray Dunham has been found not guilty of murder in the shooting death of unarmed former volunteer fire chief Ernest Martin Stevens, 77, despite his confession and 19 witnesses taking the stand against him.
The shooting took place near Stevens' home in Hardeeville, South Carolina on Aug 10, 2017.
According to Dunham's lawyer, an armed Dunham "wanted a ride" from Stevens and approached him while he was sitting in his Ford F-150 in a parking lot "but felt threatened" by him and saw him "reach for something" so he decided to unload all 8 rounds of his 9 mm handgun into Stevens' truck before running away.
Dunham struck Stevens with four bullets that hit his jaw, left arm, back and chest and fatally injured his heart and lung.
Stevens was unarmed.
Dunham initially lied to police and "denied knowing anything about the shooting" and "said he wasn't in the city at the time" before confessing and claiming he "wasn't trying to hurt him" when he unloaded into his car.
Dunham appears to have been acquitted because his lawyer made vague insinuations that racism may have been at play. Even though said insinuations were swiftly shut down by the judge, at least one member of the jury appears to have decided that was all they needed to hear and found him not guilty after less than 2 hours of deliberations.
"In South Carolina law, murder is 'the killing of any person with malice aforethought, either express or implied,'" The Island Packet reported. "The prosecutors have to prove the charge 'beyond a reasonable doubt' and all 12 jurors must agree on whether the verdict is guilty or not guilty."
From Island Packet, "Man who told police he fatally shot ex-Hardeeville fire chief in 2017 found not guilty":
Although Devon Dunham confessed to fatally shooting former Hardeeville volunteer fire chief Ernest Martin Stevens in a public parking lot in 2017, a Jasper County jury found him not guilty of murder Thursday.
Because he was not found guilty of murder, he could not be found guilty of the latter charge.
Dunham's defense attorney, Beaufort-based Jeffery Stephens, said Dunham wanted a ride but felt threatened by Stevens, and that's when he began firing shots.The Island Packet's previous article on the trial has more:
Dunham's attorney, Beaufort-based Jeffrey Stephens, said Tuesday that Dunham acted in a "blind panic," which is not murder under state law.Murder has effectively been legalized as a result of the post-Floyd "racial reckoning" -- though it's skin color-dependent.
We are officially living in post-America.
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