After more than five hours of deliberation Thursday, jurors found a Macon man guilty of murder in the 2009 stabbing of another man on Marion Avenue.
Ronald Shane Turner, 43, was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, according to the Bibb County District Attorneys Office.
Jurors, who began their deliberations about 11:45 a.m. Thursday, sent out multiple notes during their discussions asking for clarification on the law. At about the four hour mark, they sent out a note that they had agreed on verdicts for two of the three charges -- malice murder, felony murder and aggravated assault -- but remained hung on a third. The jurors ultimately found Turner guilty of all three charges.
Turner has argued he stabbed 34-year-old William King in self-defense after King struck him with a beer bottle and chased him down the street.
But in her closing argument to the jury, prosecutor Dorothy Hull asked the jurors to consider actions Turner took to influence witnesses in the case.
If the defendant is not guilty, why must witnesses be eliminated, she said. Why must they be bribed?
Turners lawyer, Larry Fouche, told the jury in his closing argument that Turner was merely venting anger to a friend when he wrote about wanting a witness to take an extended vacation.
He also was venting frustration in a recorded jailhouse phone call when he spoke of bribing a witness, Fouche said.
Fouche said Turners one-time fellow inmate, Wilbur Franklin Walton, was just trying to get out of jail when he testified about a plot allegedly concocted by Turner to kill a witness.
Hull said Waltons story is corroborated by the letter written by Turner long before the two men met.
Fouche argued that Turners description of King pulling Turners jacket over his head and Turner blindly stabbing upward is consistent with testimony from the medical examiner describing the stab wound.
Hull said the jacket wasnt given to police in the days after the killing. It first appeared this month. She questioned why Turner produced the jacket as evidence and not the knife, which has not been recovered by police.
She argued that Turners story about stabbing blindly doesnt match the medical examiners testimony because Turner would have stabbed King lower on his body if his version of events is true.
No one really knows what happened that night except the defendant and William King, Hull said.
Fouche explained to jurors that Turners loud, angry outburst during Waltons testimony Wednesday was due to frustration.
What happened yesterday is not relevant to what happened Dec. 3, 2009, he said.
Hull, who described Turner as a ticking time bomb, said its hard to believe a man who cant keep his composure in court and who had admitted mental health problems, a temper and crack cocaine addiction on the night of the stabbing would have acted reasonably.
Before closing arguments began Thursday morning, Turner asked the judge if he could address the jury and deliver his own closing statement instead of having his lawyer argue on his behalf. His lawyer ended up presenting closing arguments instead.
Theres a lot of things I want to say and I want the jury to be aware of, Turner said.
He said he wanted to apologize to Kings family. Family and friends have sat through much of the trial.
I didnt mean for him to die. I was just trying to get away from him, Turner said.
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.