Bibb jury deliberating in trial of man accused in Labor Day killing

A Bibb County jury is deliberating the fate of a Macon man accused of fatally shooting a man during Labor Day weekend in 2007.

Jurors were issued instructions and began deliberations at about noon today.

Carl Harris, 28, is accused of shooting 34-year-old Michael McKenzie seven times as he sat in his car at the corner of Cardinal Place and Winifred Way on Sept. 3, 2007.

Jurors heard closing arguments earlier this morning during which Harris's public defender, Mark Beberman, said Harris shot McKenzie in self-defense.

"Michael McKenzie had a gun and he pulled it on him," Beberman told the jury.

He told the jury although police didn't find a gun in McKenzie's car after his friends drove him to the hospital, McKenzie did have a gun.

"Carl said he wouldn't have shot him if he didn't pull a gun on him," Beberman said.

He said no one thoroughly searched the car and there was a discrepancy in witness testimony as to how many people drove McKenzie to the hospital.

"There was a gun in the car and somebody took it," Beberman suggested.

Although McKenzie's friends denied contacting McKenzie after a fight they had with Harris on Sept. 1, Beberman argued that the friends called McKenzie, spurring him to make phone threats to Harris and his girlfriend.

Bibb County Assistant District Attorney Dorothy Hull said the evidence doesn't show Harris and his girlfriend were threatened.

She said neither Harris nor his girlfriend called the police about the threats. When Harris and McKenzie were arguing, the girlfriend didn't call for help.

"You have two people who have motivation to lie and that's the only evidence Michael McKenzie made threats," Hull said.

Even if there were threats, Hull said "words do not justify murder."

As for the allegation McKenzie had a gun, Hull pointed to the testimony of a woman in the neighborhood who was the first to arrive at McKenzie's car after the shooting.

The woman testified Tuesday she didn't see a gun when she looked inside the car.

Hull said McKenzie didn't do anything to provoke his death.

"The defendant shot an unarmed man seven times as he sat in a car to leave," she said.

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