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Day in court

Of the 79 cases listed on the Circuit Court docket to begin Monday, Dec. 5, seven will be murder trials.

The cases range from incidents that occurred in 2008, to a New Years 2011 shooting.

The trials will keep his staff busy, District Attorney Michael Jackson said, but not overwhelmed.

“We divide up the murder cases and we tackle them as they come along,” he said. “Fortunately, we haven’t had a murder in Selma in a while.”

Murder cases, Jackson said, have become a common part of the docket.

“Most every docket has at least one murder case on it, so we try to deal with as many as we can as they come along to dispose of them and bring closure to the family.”

Aaron Harris, Johnny Lee Dukes, Brandon Lewis and Michael Hunter, who are scheduled for trial, are all tied to the shooting death of 3-year-old Rosjah J. Butler. Hunter Dukes originally fled to Albany, Ga., where authorities eventually picked them up May 27, 2010.

Lewis and Harris were picked up shortly after the shooting on April 28, 2010.

Each was arrested and charged with capital murder.

The four suspects were originally listed for the summer docket, but trials were delayed.

During the original interrogation, Lewis said Dukes was the man with the gun who fired toward the house.

Authorities said they believe an argument over the quality of some marijuana Harris had purchased from a resident of the house where the shooting occurred was the cause of the crime.

The murder of her 3-year-old son so affected the child’s mother, Amarys Williams, when she heard her son had died she ran out into the highway next to the medical center, hoping a truck would hit her.

“He died, and I wanted to die, too,” Williams said in a previous interview with the Times-Journal. “I was unsuccessful in that. Unfortunately, there were no trucks. Sometimes I still feel that way, but I have to look after his sister, Alexis. I’ve got to be there for her.”

Jackson said he is hopeful the cases will come before the jury, but they could be delayed because of the long list.

Jamorrious Sallie, who was arrested Aug. 5, 2008 on charges of capital murder, robbery first degree, and robbery second degree, also appears on the docket.

Sallie and an accomplice are accused of the beating death of J.P. Lee at Taylor’s Restaurant on the Cecil Jackson Bypass. Sallie was initially charged with assault.

Ronald Cooper will also appear on the docket in connection with a Jan. 1 shooting in a downtown Selma club that killed security guard Kevin Stallworth. According to witnesses, including the victims mother, Stallworth came outside the 12 Stone Club to stop a fight that involved Cooper.

Witnesses say Cooper then swung around and fired the .380 handgun and a slug struck Stallworth in the chest.

Officials with the Selma Police Department said Stallworth was “barely breathing” when police officers arrived on the scene minutes after the shooting.

Stallworth died later at Vaughan Regional Medical Center.

Cooper, who was charged with murder, then fled the scene and arrived at the Selma Police Department and the jail, where he was taken into custody.

Officers traced Cooper’s route to the police department and found the .380 handgun in a trash can.

Later, during a videotaped interview, detectives said Cooper admitted the gun was his and he had shot Stallworth.

Also appearing on the docket, is Leon Hudson. Hudson was arrested July 8, 2009 and charged with capital murder.

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