AUBURN, AL (WTVM) – The fate of Markale Hart lies in the hands of the jury after he was called as the defense's final witness Friday before lunch.
Hart's attorney Jerry Blevins asked his client a series of questions on the stand, one of them was how he feels knowing he killed Auburn football player Jakell Mitchell. "I feel very bad about. It hurts for me to sit here and look at his family I feel terrible. Especially looking at his mother it's got to be devastating," Hart testifies.
The argue the defense has made throughout the trial is that Hart fired a gun in self defense at Tiger Lodge Apartments in 2014. The defendant stuck to the claim on the stand, "He shot and I shot. And I had shot like that because it was like he was shooting at me and I was trying to dodge and I was backing up shooting like this," Hart demonstrates his actions when he claims he was shot at by MItchell to the jury.
Following Hart's testimony, closing arguments were heard by both parties. Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes started closings for the prosecution and Chief Assistant DA Jessica Ventiere finished. Ventiere questions how Hart's shots were fired in self defense as she presents Mitchell's shoe that has a bullet hole that entered from the bottom of the shoe the night the shooting happened. The prosecution also pointed out Hart and his cousin Tyrone Rowe had the opportunity to get in the car and leave the party before the shooting happened, however the two stuck around and Rowe admitted to taking off his hoodie as he was preparing for a "fist fight" with Jakell Mitchell. Rowe testified today saying he told Mitchell, "do what you're going to do" when Rowe says Mitchell was pointing a gun at him.
Hart's cousin claims he liked Jakell Mitchell's Instagram post of Mitchell's girlfriend at the time, Ayanna Huguely a year before the shooting happened. During that time, Rowe and Mitchell exchanged words over Instagram according to the defense, but the two had never seen one another face to face until the night of the shooting. Hart also testified he never knew of Mitchell the night before the shooting either, but was told by "Big D" at the party that Mitchell had intentions to kill his cousin. That is when "Big D" slipped a handgun into Hart's pocket. "Big D" was not identified in court, although Hart says he was a former classmate of his.
Mitchell's autopsy showed his blood alcohol content was above the legal limit for driving. The defense is arguing that could have played a roll in the Auburn football player's anger leading to him firing shots first.
Judge Christopher Hughes read off the charges to the jury around 4 CT/ 5 ET. The jury is expected to be back in courtroom Monday morning to continue deliberations.