Outbursts in court after jury finds Columbus man guilty of murder

By Mackenzie Patterson - bioemail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A Columbus man is facing life in prison for charges of murder and 25 additional years for 2 other charges.

A jury found Andrew Solomon guilty for gunning down 17-year-old Levy Daniel last September at the Booker T. Washington Apartments.

During closing arguments the Susan Henderson, Solomon's attorney, stated that the 20 year old was not a murderer or thug.  Henderson said Solomon was facing the charges due to lack of police enthusiasm and evidence.  She said she believed he was pointed to as the suspect by others who committed the crime.

However, the State retaliated saying that Henderson's theories were only that.  The State pointed to witnesses who identified Solomon as the man who shot Daniel in the back.  Witnesses during the case said Solomon and Daniel had a disagreement before the shooting.  They said Daniel pointed a gun at Solomon but did not pull the trigger.  Later when Solomon confronted Daniel, Daniel tried to run away, but Solomon fired fatal shots.

Senior Assistant District Attorney LaRae Moore said witnesses are key to winning cases like this.

"I promise you that if people stopped giving information then we would have serious problems with our systems because ballistics can't point the finger to people.  I mean it can only do so much, fingerprints can only do so much, DNA can only do so much.  It still relies on good people coming forward and being willing to help," said Moore.

When closing arguments were over, Judge Bobby Peters charged the jury explaining the definitions of each of Solomon's charges.  The jury entered into deliberations for about 3 hours finally returning with a unanimous verdict of guilty for charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime.

Solomon, his friends, and family outburst while hearing his sentencing.

Deputies had to physically escort family and friends from the courtroom as Solomon began to cry that he was not the man that killed levy Daniel last September Solomon had to also be removed from the courtroom putting a brief stop to the sentencing.

Before the outburst, Judge Peters addressed Solomon about his crimes.

"We have a 17year old who has lost his life and now you've wrecked your life, your family's, his family, all for nothing.  It doesn't make sense:  all trying to be bad, and everyone has to have a gun and argue and take it out on each other with weapons," said Peters.

Solomon was allowed to enter back into the courtroom after he calmed down.  He will be eligible for parole in 30 years.

Senior District Attorney LaRae Moore said Levy Daniel's mother thanked her after the trial.

Solomon will be eligible for parole after 30 years in prison.

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