FAIRFIELD — Jurors began deliberating the fate Wednesday of a man who shot and killed a drug dealer in 2008 during a botched drug deal.
The choice for jurors is whether Deshaun P. Malone was committing a robbery when he shot and killed a drug dealer on the night of Nov. 2, 2008, or whether he was acting in self-defense, having spotted a gun in a backpack being held by a masked man in the back seat of the drug dealer’s car.
Malone’s defense attorney, Leslie Prince, stuck with the version Malone gave police shortly after his arrest a month after fatally shooting Kendrick Lewis in the back. Malone, who did not take the witness stand during his trial, told police he only pulled out the gun he had with him after he decided to shoot the passenger. Then the gun fired accidentally when Lewis tried to drive off, causing the gun to bump on the window.
Prince explained that the lack of a gun and backpack found at the Mockingbird Lane crime scene was because two of the passengers had hidden them in the yard of a nearby home before police arrived at the crime scene.
While the passengers with Lewis all testified there was no second gun, one of them said Malone threatened to “shoot first” and one of the passengers was arrested 14 months after the killing for having a gun and drugs with him.
Prince said the passengers lied about the gun because they felt guilty about starting the chain of events that led to their friend’s death.
Prosecutor Karen Jensen told jurors the scenario described by Malone was implausible and that the evidence pointed to an attempted drug heist.
Malone and a friend had arranged for Lewis to meet them at Mockingbird Lane, where they were going to buy Ecstasy tablets.
This is the third trial in the case. The first trial in 2010 ended with a quick guilty verdict after just two hours of deliberation. That verdict was later overturned by the Court of Appeal, which ruled the jury should have been given the chance to find Malone guilty of manslaughter instead of murder.
The first retrial saw an early mistrial last month after the prosecutor mentioned the 2010 conviction in the presence of the jury.
Jurors in the current trial are scheduled to resume their deliberations Thursday.
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.