Closing arguments begin in trial for 2016 murder at 5 Corner Lotto in Columbus

Closing arguments begin in trial for 2016 murder at 5 Corner Lotto in Columbus

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A Columbus jury hears closing arguments today in the trial of a 2016 murder at a convenient store.

Co-defendants Jalontaye Cleveland and Courtney Williams are accused of a string of armed robberies, where an attempt at the 5 Corner Lotto store on Linwood Blvd. ended in the murder of Vatsal Patel.

Closing arguments started today and lasted for a little over three hours. They will continue for another few hours on Wednesday before the jury is expected to begin deliberations in the afternoon.

There are five people accused of being involved in a string of armed robberies, a murder, a kidnapping and several aggravated assaults. Williams and Cleveland are the two currently standing trial.

We heard in earlier testimony, co-defendant Dominique Collins say Cleveland shot and killed Vatsal Patel and Williams was their ride that night.

Today, Williams’ attorney stood before the jury with closing arguments.

“The defendant, my client is Mr. Williams, he comes into this court fully clothed," defense attorney William Kendrick said, “fully clothed in innocence. It’s up to the state to pick each stitch out of that clothing in order to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Kendrick said none of the evidence proves Williams was directly involved. “And there’s no choice in this case but to acquit Mr. Williams of each and every charge on this indictment.”

“We’ll submit to you," Assistant District Attorney Sheneka Jones said, "they are guilty of malice murder and felony murder as well.”

The District Attorney’s office presented nearly 300 pieces of evidence over the past two weeks.

“Don said to me, how did you just, how can you be that unlucky to have this amount of evidence? And it came to me that the only person that’s unlucky here is Vatsal Patel," Jones said.

The jury is scheduled to begin their deliberations after Jennifer Curry and Don Kelly give their closing arguments. We’ll bring you an update when they bring back a verdict.

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