When it comes to race and the stand your ground law in Georgia, there seems to be a separate level of proof that must be reached. This week the trial ended for Jessie Murray, a Black man who was beaten while trying to rescue his wife from four drunken White men. During the beating, his gun went off killing Nathaniel Adams, a former police officer. The judge in the case felt that Murray was not in fear for his life when being beaten by four drunk White men in Georgia.
In denying Murray the use of the stand your ground defense, the judge stated, “nor does it appear to this court that the other men in the vicinity were acting in such a way that would cause the defendant to reasonably believe that deadly force was necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to himself or a third party.”
Noted social activist attorney Mawuli Davis, partner Davis Bozeman Law Firm, along with attorney Miya Griggs was part of the legal team that defended Jessie Murray on charges of malice murder and aggravated assault in the death of Adams. This week Murray reached a plea deal for five years of probation on lesser firearms charges and the dropping of the murder charges. Davis issued the following statement to rolling out:
“On June 28, 2017, after 2 and 1/2 days of trial, the State offered to dismiss the murder charges against Mr. Jessie Murray, if he would accept a probated sentence to a firearms charge. Although Mr. Murray believed that he was justified in his actions on the night of the tragic incident, he elected to accept the offer and not risk a possible 55-year prison sentence. We believe that the offer of probation and dismissal of the murder charges make clear that the charges against Mr. Murray should never have been brought. It is difficult to imagine a scenario where a person being physically assaulted by 3 men and surrounded by 2 others does not have the right to “stand their ground” and use deadly force to defend their own life.
“The cross-examination of the State’s witnesses in the trial not only called into serious question their credibility, but also confirmed the fact that Mr. Murray never threw a punch, pointed a weapon, or brandished a gun before or during this violent attack against him.
“We remain convinced that the two factors that led to Mr. Murray being charged were:
2) The deceased was a former police officer with friends who worked in the police department investigating the incident.
“The men who attacked Mr. Murray, including one of them who even shot at Mr. Murray as he attempted to run to safety, have never been arrested or charged.
“The overwhelming support and demand for justice by activists around the country have helped illustrate the inequity that continues to exist in our criminal justice system for people of color in general, but Black people in particular. I am truly thankful to the team of paralegals, legal interns, and co-counsel, Attorney Miya Griggs, for their extraordinary work in being prepared to present Mr. Murray’s life or death experience to the jury.
“We garnered all of the firm’s resources to mount this defense in this fight for justice. I am so proud to be a part of a firm in which everyone worked relentlessly to bring Mr. Murray home to his family and collectively we were successful.” –Mawuli Davis partner Davis Bozeman Law Firm