Gang expert testifies in 2016 Peachtree Mall murder trial

'Gang expert' testifies in 2016 Peachtree Mall murder trial
(Source: Sharifa Jackson/WTVM)
(Source: Sharifa Jackson/WTVM)
(Source: Sharifa Jackson/WTVM)
(Source: Sharifa Jackson/WTVM)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – It is now week two in the Peachtree Mall murder trial and prosecutors are expected to wrap up their case.

Officers say Xzavaien Jones, Tekoa Young, and Terell McFarland are behind the deadly shooting of Anthony Meredith in March of last year.

Prosecutors are attempting to connect the ties between what they believe is gang relations and involvement as the driving force behind the shooting. A possible act of revenge.

Evidence in the form of Facebook comments, pictures and letters from jail were presented to the jury on Monday. In those articles of evidence, a gang expert identifying common gang identifiers such as blue hearts, special language, and other symbolism.

"In the crip culture, based on my experience of countless testimony or countless interviews I've done with gang members, there is no green light needed, that culture is you retaliate, especially if your leader is hit, f your leader if gunned down. If your leader is murdered, it's almost expected that you be on a hunt for the person that did that crime," said Ham.

Forensic Specialist, Dr. Sandra Thomas out of Decatur, GA was also brought in to testify on autopsy results from the victim, 24-year-old Anthony Meredith. She detailed the manner of death, saying Meredith was shot in the back, and found with over 10 gunshot wounds.

Ham, sharing the prescribed motive, from culture, lifestyle and character of gang members. Saying there is no green light needed, the culture is you retaliate.

"It's my opinion that the defendants allegedly committed an act because a person that's close to them was injured. In the crip culture, that requires a reaction, and the crimes that they are alleged to do is the type of crime you would expect for a Crip member to carry out," said Ham.

The defense immediately fighting back at Ham's statements, issuing a motion to have him removed from the witness stand and also for a mistrial. The defense believing his statements tainted the minds of the jury.

"He said this is what my opinion is, these folks over here did the act, and here's why. They did it because they are retaliating against the death of their leader, and that's going into their mental, and that's going into their intent. He testified against exactly what the jury is supposed to be here to decide," said Defense Attorney for Tekoa Young, Mark Shelnutt.

The judge denied both motions.

Defense attorneys say this week they intend to show that Young and McFarland were not at the mall the day of the murder, and that there is lack of evidence to criminalize the three defendants.

The three suspects, Xzaviaen Jones, his sister, Tekoa Young, and Terell McFarland all face charges of murder, aggravated assault, and gang membership.

Follow News Leader 9's Sharifa Jackson for live updates on the trial.

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