COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Newly-elected Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit District Attorney, Mark Jones, prosecuted his first murder trial. The trial ended on April 28 with a Muscogee County jury deadlocked in an 8 to 4 split, leaning in the favor of a not guilty verdict.
The jury couldn’t agree whether Drevon Johnson, a man accused of killing 23 year old Richard Collier at a house party back in 2016, was guilty or innocent, and by doing so extended the Collier families fight for justice a little longer.
The jury deliberated almost 23 hours. Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit Judge Ron Mullins declared a mistrial, following the jury being deadlocked. According to Celeste Collier, the sister of Richard Collier, the last five years have been difficult.
”They’ve been draining, and when you think that you’ve come to like finally a light at the end of the tunnel, and this is the outcome of it. It just like we’re back at square one,” said Collier. “In how everything went, I kind of feel disappointment that the 8 were on the defense’s side and we only had four on our side. So I can kind of feel like, in one word I feel like it was a complete failure after we waited five years to get to that point.”
According to the attorneys for both sides, a potential witness, who the defense believes sent incriminating text messages, didn’t show up for court, and that witness was at the party the night Collier was shot.
“We convinced four of the jurors that Drevon Johnson was the shooter that night,” said District Attorney Mark Jones. “We were missing a witness, and I think that was part of the issue. But it’s not a lose, it’s not a win. It’s a tie.”
“Fortunately I was able to speak to the four persons afterwards and one of the things they were worried about were the text messages,” said Defense Attorney Anthony Johnson. “There’s text messages from an individual, whom arguably should be here instead of Drevon Johnson, instead of my client.”
District Attorney Mark Jones tells News Leader 9 that he plans to retry the case as soon as possible. According to Johnson’s Attorney, he plans to file for a bond reduction to get Johnson out of jail within the next month. According to Jones, Drevon Johnson will remain behind bars in the meantime.