Georgia man guilty of manslaughter in shooting of teen girl

Aug 30, 2022, 11:17 PM | Updated: Aug 31, 2022, 4:08 pm
FILE - This undated photo provided by the Bulloch County Sheriff's Office shows Marc Wilson, of Sha...

FILE - This undated photo provided by the Bulloch County Sheriff's Office shows Marc Wilson, of Sharpsburg, Ga. Wilson was charged with killing a 17-year-old girl in a highway shooting after opening fire from his car in self-defense after the pickup truck in which the girl was a passenger tried to force him off the road, a defense attorney told a jury as his murder trial opened on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022. (Bulloch County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

(Bulloch County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

STATESBORO, Ga. (AP) — A biracial man who says he was fending off a racist attack on a Georgia highway when he fired a gun into a pickup truck was convicted Wednesday of involuntary manslaughter for fatally shooting a 17-year-old girl in the truck’s back seat.

The trial jury spared 23-year-old Marc Wilson from a potential life prison sentence by acquitting him of felony murder, the charge prosecutors argued he deserved for killing Haley Hutcheson of Reidsville.

Defense attorneys for Wilson of Sharpsburg had insisted during the weeklong trial in Bulloch County Superior Court that he should be acquitted on all charges. They said Wilson was justified to shoot in self-defense when the pickup truck’s driver tried to run Wilson’s car off the road.

District Attorney Daphne Totten said the verdict, while not as harsh as prosecutors had sought, showed the jury rejected Wilson’s self-defense claims.

“The truth of this case is that what Marc Wilson did that night on the bypass was a crime,” Totten said. “And this family that we stand here with right now, they’ve waited a long time for justice.”

Georgia law says involuntary manslaughter can be either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances. Wilson’s lead attorney, Francys Johnson, said his client was convicted of a felony — punishable by one to 10 years in prison — because the judge chose not to instruct the jury on the the misdemeanor option.

“If that option had been included as we asked and insisted, this jury would have found Marc guilty of the misdemeanor version of manslaughter and Marc would be coming home,” Johnson told reporters outside the courthouse.

Instead, Superior Court Judge Ronnie Thompson ordered Wilson to be held in jail until his sentencing hearing Sept. 20. Wilson had been staying at his father’s house under house arrest before his trial.

The jury began deliberating Tuesday afternoon and spent a total of roughly seven hours weighing the case before returning a verdict.

Defense attorneys acknowledged that Wilson fired the shot that killed Hutcheson on a bypass circling the southeast Georgia city of Statesboro the night of June 24, 2020. Investigators testified that three shell casings found at the scene matched the handgun Wilson surrendered to police when he turned himself in three days after the shooting.

Prosecutor Barclay Black told the jury Wilson had no legal justification for firing a handgun in traffic and could have escaped if he was being harassed by another driver. One of the bullets he fired pierced the truck’s rear window and struck Hutcheson in the head. She died after her friends rushed her to a hospital.

Prosecutors had charged Wilson with felony murder, arguing he caused Hutcheson’s death while committing another felony, aggravated assault, by firing his gun at the truck. The jury acquitted Wilson of both those charges and opted to convict him of involuntary manslaughter.

Wilson, the son of a Black father and white mother, and his white girlfriend had just picked up food from a Taco Bell about 12:30 a.m. when the pickup truck pulled alongside Wilson’s much smaller Ford Focus. Wilson told police the pickup truck tried to run his car off the road as white teenagers inside yelled racist slurs.

“Me and my girlfriend were very scared that night,” Wilson told police in a recorded interview played for the trial jury. He said that when the truck kept swerving toward his car, “I didn’t know what else to do, so I grabbed my, uh, my piece and I shot under the vehicle.”

The driver of the pickup and two passengers who took the witness stand denied threatening or otherwise provoking Wilson. They also acknowledged that they had been drinking that night, though they denied being drunk.

One of the truck’s passengers, Luke Conley, declined to testify by invoking his Fifth Amendment right against giving self-incriminating testimony. He has been charged with misdemeanor obstruction after police said he gave investigators conflicting information about the shooting.

Emma Rigdon, Wilson’s girlfriend at the time, testified that she didn’t hear any racial slurs before the shooting. But she recalled being frightened when the pickup truck “started swerving into our lane” and forced Wilson’s car onto the shoulder of the highway.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - A Russian military convoy is seen on the road toward the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station,...
Associated Press

Experts: Russia finding new ways to spread propaganda videos

Russia has devised yet another way to spread disinformation about its invasion of Ukraine, using digital tricks that allow its war propaganda videos to evade restrictions imposed by governments and tech companies. Accounts linked to Russian state-controlled media have used the new method to spread dozens of videos in 18 different languages, all without leaving […]
1 day ago
FILE - A Russian military convoy is seen on the road toward the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station,...
Associated Press

Experts: Russia finding new ways to spread propaganda videos

Russia has devised yet another way to spread disinformation about its invasion of Ukraine, using digital tricks that allow its war propaganda videos to evade restrictions imposed by governments and tech companies. Accounts linked to Russian state-controlled media have used the new method to spread dozens of videos in 18 different languages, all without leaving […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Mexican man killed in shooting at US Border Patrol station

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A Mexican citizen has died at a hospital after he was shot at a U.S. Border Patrol station in Texas, authorities said. The man was in custody at the Ysleta Border Patrol Station in El Paso on Tuesday when he was shot, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Mexican man killed in shooting at US Border Patrol station

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A Mexican citizen has died at a hospital after he was shot at a U.S. Border Patrol station in Texas, authorities said. The man was in custody at the Ysleta Border Patrol Station in El Paso on Tuesday when he was shot, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a […]
1 day ago
Czech Republic's President Millos Zeman, right, welcomes Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Than...
Associated Press

Qatar ruler in Czech Republic to talk business, gas exports

PRAGUE (AP) — Qatar’s emir paid his first visit to the Czech Republic on Wednesday for business talks expected to include a potential deal for deliveries of Qatari liquefied natural gas. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who is accompanied by a large delegation, was formally greeted by Czech President Milos Zeman at the Prague […]
1 day ago
FILE - Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch celebrates the Vespers of the Solemnity of the Conversion of Saint ...
Associated Press

Vatican cardinal cites Nazi theology in German reform

ROME (AP) — The German Catholic Church’s reform process is again under fire from the Holy See, with a Vatican cardinal seemingly comparing its proposals for theological development to the thinking that sustained Germany’s Nazi era. The furor launched by Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch, who heads the Holy See’s office for Christian unity, marks the […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Georgia man guilty of manslaughter in shooting of teen girl