Drive-by shooting accomplice convictedPublished 7:22pm Wednesday, April 10, 2013
A Selma man, who was charged of being the driver in a drive-by shooting that killed a three-year-old boy in 2010, was convicted of murder Wednesday.
Aaron Harris, 25, was convicted with murder, felony murder but not with capital murder, with which he was indicted.
Harris was one of four suspects arrested in the murder of three-year-old Rosjah J. Butler Jr. when on April 27, 2010, Harris drove a Dodge Intrepid past a house on the 1400 block of Church Street and Johnny Lee Dukes fired more than 13 rounds from a gun towards the house from the passenger’s seat. Butler was killed when one of the three bullets that went through the walls of the home struck him in the chest, while playing next to his sister. Dukes was found guilty of capital murder in December.
“To an extent it brings justice,” Amarys Williams, Butler’s mother said after the trial, where she was seen crying throughout the closing arguments and during parts of testimony. “I feel like justice will never be served for the fact that [the suspects] will still be able to see their children, and I will never be able to see mine again. So when you say justice — it’s to an extent.”
The drive-by shooting incident allegedly came about after there was an argument between a group of individuals from Church Street and another group from GWC Homes or, “the projects” as it was referred to in testimony during the trial.
There was a dispute about a bad marijuana sale and prosecuting attorney Shannon Lynch said Harris was in a dispute over a girl who was sleeping with someone else.
“This boiled and boiled and festered,” Lynch told the jury in her closing statement, talking to them in response to defense attorney Bruce Maddox’s claim that the dispute was not about a girl. “The defense wants you to think that people won’t kill over a girl or drugs, but watch TV — people do it everyday.”
In Maddox’s closing statement he told jurors, Dukes was the victim of, “taking the wrong guy home at the wrong time and in the wrong place. That’s what this case is.” A testimony read aloud from Michael Hunter who sat in the back of the Dodge Intrepid during the shooting claimed those in the car did not know Dukes would fire rounds at the home on Church Street when they were driving by.
The jury deliberated for close to four hours before finding Harris guilty of murder, and District Attorney Michael Jackson said he believes Harris will be in prison for the rest of his life.
Circuit Judge Jack Meigs gave Harris no bond, “so he will be locked up until the pre-sentence hearing,” Jackson said. “He faces a life sentence for each count, and we are pleased with the guilty verdict and will ask for him to be given a life sentence for each count. We got another gun slinger off the streets in Selma today.”
The remaining suspects — Michael Hunter and Brandon Lewis — are charged with capital murder also and still awaiting trial.