MISTRIAL

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in­jured in the shoot­ing to tell the jury their ver­sion of what hap­pened that night.

The first vic­tim, 29-yearold Ta­vor­ris “T-Rock” Shy, tes­ti­fied that he was at the home shoot­ing dice when he glanced up, saw Prid­gett shoot one vic­tim in the head, then yell for every­one to “get down.” Al­though he told ju­rors that he did as he was told, he was still shot. A .22 bul­let went through his fin­ger — which he had cov­er­ing the back of his head — and into his head; an­other bul­let hit his chest and yet an­other hit his side.

Shy ran from the home and called 911. He can be heard on the tape breath­ing heav­ily and speak­ing al­most grog­gily to dis­patch op­er­a­tors. Of­fi­cers from the Cov­ing­ton Po­lice Depart­ment tes­ti­fied that when they ar­rived they found him in the area of the rail­road tracks on West Street head­ing to­ward U.S. High­way 278. When he saw them, he al­legedly col­lapsed in front of their pa­trol ve­hi­cles but was able to iden­tify Prid­gett as the per­son who had shot him.

As the tape played sev­eral peo­ple in the court­room cried qui­etly.

Sedar­ius “Ronte” Stephens, 23, gave a sim­i­lar story about the men play­ing dice at Prid­gett’s apart­ment when Prid­gett sud­denly turned on them. He was shot in the hand and the left side of the chest and told ju­rors that Prid­gett shot “un­til the clip ended.”

The third vic­tim, 18year-old Martec “Pump­kin” Barkley, said that he was on his knees shoot­ing dice when he heard Prid­gett say “Bet P,” and the next thing he re­mem­bered was a loud ring­ing “like a bell” be­fore black­ing out. When he came to, he told ju­rors that he once again heard Prid­gett, this time say­ing to Shy “T-Rock, there ain’t no sense in run­ning now, you about to die.”

Chase Clem­mons, Prid­gett’s girl­friend at the time of the shoot­ing, ad­mit­ted that she was in the house when it hap­pened but not in the room and that she went with Prid­gett to his mother’s house af­ter­ward and drove him to his un­cle’s house where he was later ar­rested.

Sev­eral hours af­ter the shoot­ing, she ad­mit­ted to telling CPD Capt. Craig Tread­well that she was scared of Prid­gett and her ac­tions that night were all fu­eled by that. But on the stand she had to re­fer to her tes­ti­mony sev­eral times and at one point had to be rep­ri­manded by the judge.

Of­fi­cer Justin Blanken­ship tes­ti­fied that af­ter he ar­rived at the home and went in­side to clear it, he no­ticed a pair of Chuck Tay­lor ten­nis shoes, later de­ter­mined to be­long to Jerome Glover, pok­ing out of the kitchen area, the feet in­side kick­ing and mov­ing about. Know­ing there was at least one gun­shot vic­tim at this point, Blanken­ship said he drew his weapon and kept in­struct­ing the wearer to show his hands.

“It sounded like he was cry­ing,” he said. “He was try­ing to com­ply but he couldn’t. His hands were flop­ping on his chest. He just kept re­peat­ing ‘I can’t, I’m dy­ing. I think I’m dy­ing.’”

Once again, Glover’s fam­ily be­gan to cry as Blanken­ship de­scribed the area Glover was found in and his wounds. Ac­cord­ing to the Ge­or­gia Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion’s Med­i­cal Ex­am­iner Dr. Jonathan Eisen­stat who later per­formed his au­topsy, Glover was shot once in the head, twice in the right arm and twice in the torso. The com­bi­na­tion of his head wound and one of the chest wounds proved lethal.

“I asked him what was wrong, and he said he’d been shot in the head and chest. He said some­thing to the ef­fect of ‘Ja­maall Prid­gett did this to me,’” said Blanken­ship. “He kept try­ing to get up but his body just wouldn’t let him. He was just fight­ing it re­ally bad.”

Prid­gett took the stand Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon. He told ju­rors about the men who were shot and the one who was killed. He also ex­plained neigh­bor­hood al­liances and tes­ti­fied that while he knew Shy, Stephens, Glover and Barkley, they were all closer to one an­other then they were with him.

He also talked can­didly about his day lead­ing up to the shoot­ing at his apart­ment on West Street. He said that around 11 a.m., he, Glover and Barkley were in the yard of his home “kick­ing it,” and that there were no prob­lems be­tween any of them. When asked to de­scribe what “kick­ing it” meant, Prid­gett ex­plained that they had been sell­ing drugs, specif­i­cally co­caine, out of the front yard, while talk­ing with one an­other. All of the other men had tes­ti­fied there was no drug ac­tiv­ity go­ing on that day.

Also that day he tes­ti­fied that he had pur­chased drugs from Stephens at a dis­counted price in or­der to re-sell them him­self. He ex­plained that it was com­mon for them to do that; if one per­son had a lot of co­caine and the oth­ers were run­ning low, they would sell to one an­other at a lower price. He also ad­mit­ted to hav­ing been in­volved with sell­ing drugs since the age of 14.

Later that day, a woman who was a reg­u­lar client of Prid­gett’s and whom he had sold drugs to ear­lier in the day, came back to his home and wanted her money back. She ac­cused him of sell­ing her fake drugs, and ac­cord­ing to Prid­gett’s tes­ti­mony they were from the drugs he had pur­chased from Stephens ear­lier that day. An ar­gu­ment erupted over the drugs with one per­son blam­ing the other for the bad drugs.

At one point Prid­gett said that Barkley made the com­ment to him that he was go­ing to kill him, and in the next mo­ment he said he saw Stephens make a throat cut- ting sign and Glover lunged at him. He said he swung at Glover but that he came back at him which is when he went for the gun he had tucked into the waist of his pants.

“When I pulled my gun out, it was panic and fear and I was just think­ing I had to make it out of there alive,” said Prid­gett. “I wouldn't say I was try­ing to kill them; I was scared, and I was try­ing to de­fend my­self.”

Dur­ing clos­ing ar­gu­ments, Smith told the jury that the rea­son all of the vic­tims in the case were ly­ing was be­cause they had rea­son to. Most had crim­i­nal his­to­ries and were on pro­ba­tion at the time. Ad­mit­ting to hav­ing drugs and guns would have surely been a vi­o­la­tion of their pro­ba­tions and could pos­si­bly send them back to jail.

“I’m not say­ing th­ese guys de­serve to be shot, but it’s easy to see why they would be ly­ing,” said Smith.

What makes sense in this case is what the ev­i­dence, the over­whelm­ing ev­i­dence, shows. That Mr. Prid­gett came into that room and at­tacked three un­sus­pect­ing in­di­vid­u­als,” coun­tered Malcolm in his clos­ing re­marks.

“…Mr. Glover never had the op­por­tu­nity to get off the floor. He was mur­dered in cold blood and laid there and bled out all over that kitchen floor. A 19-yearold man whose life was cut trag­i­cally short be­cause of Mr. Prid­gett’s rage and his op­por­tunis­tic greed; he wanted money and he took money through vi­o­lence and through gun­shots.

As Malcolm con­tin­ued his clos­ing, Glover’s mother be­gan to cry and then, as pic­tures of a blood-smeared freezer where her son had fallen were shown, be­gan to sob in earnest. She was led from the court scream­ing “my baby!” as Prid­gett’s mother put her face in her hands and cried silently.

“I ask you when you go back into the jury room that you think about Mr. Glover and you think about the three other men who were shot and robbed on that evening,” said Malcolm. “Un­sus­pected by some­one they trusted and thought to be a friend. Think about them; think about the vic­tims in this case. The de­fen­dant has to be held ac­count­able. It’s your job to hold him re­spon­si­ble. Think of the young men who tes­ti­fied how­ever you want to. Like them, dis­like them, it doesn’t mat­ter; it only mat­ters if they were telling the truth.”

In the end, the jury was un­able to reach a ver­dict. The judge asked if more time would help them de­cide and they unan­i­mously agreed that they were dead­locked. Prid­gett was re­turned to the New­ton County De­ten­tion Cen­ter and will re­main there un­til a date can be set for a new trial.

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