State rests case, defense calls witnesses in 2014 Auburn football player murder trial

(Source: Parker Branton/WTVM)
(Source: Parker Branton/WTVM)
(Source: Parker Branton/WTVM)
(Source: Parker Branton/WTVM)

OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - The prosecution is resting their case and the defense is calling their witnesses to the stand in the trial for a Markale Hart, who is accused of killing Auburn football player Jakell Mitchell in 2014.

Dabante Mitchell, one of the witnesses called to the stand by the defense, says he rode to the party with Markale Hart and Tyron Rowe where the shooting happened.

Dabante testifies Jakell Mitchell was waving a gun back and forth between Rowe and Hart before firing shots first.

"Markale said don't do it, don't to it to my brother. Then, Jakell shot first, then Markale shot back," says Dabante Mitchell.

Hart's initial statement he gave to Auburn police following his arrest was read in court Thursday and matches with his claim that he fired shots only after Jakell Mitchell fired first.

"I took the gun and when we got Tyrone to the car the guy walked up and had a gun in his hand the guy pointed the gun at Tyrone and then pointed the gun at me that's when he shot and I shot back at him. After I shot I took off running and dropped the gun," case agent Dustin Holt reads off statement given by Hart.

Some of the testimony heard in court today did not match the initial statements given by witnesses as Lee County Chief Assistant District Attorney Jessica Ventiere found out when questioning the defense witnesses.

Jakell Mitchell's gun was originally believed to have been stolen according to the defense's opening statement.

That was proved otherwise in court today when the case agent says the owner of the gun was a distant cousin of Mitchell.

The .45 caliber Glock Jakell allegedly used was found at the scene of the crime.

Experts on forensic sciences and autopsy also testified giving their take on the trajectory of bullets and how many shots each party fired which is still being debated among the defense and prosecution.

The defense attorney said in opening statements they are going to bring Markale Hart to the stand to testify. That could happen Friday when the trial resumes in Judge Christopher Hughes' courtroom.

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