State Supreme Court upholds man's conviction for twice blasting in-law with shotgun

Jury deadlocked in Reginald Ferguson's first trial

tchitwood@ledger-enqurier.comJanuary 21, 2014 


A Talbotton, Ga., man twice tried before a jury convicted him of murder for blasting his brother-in-law with a shotgun in 2005 will remain in prison, the Georgia Supreme Court has decided.

The court has upheld the conviction of Reginald Ferguson, whom Superior Court Judge John Allen sentenced to life in prison on April 28, 2006, for the murder of Robert Brent Walton, 23, of 70 Owens Circle in Shiloh.

It was at Walton’s home on May 1, 2005, that a confrontation over Ferguson’s missing motorcycle led him to shoot his in-law twice with No. 6-size shotgun pellets, the ammunition hunters typically use for squirrels or game birds.

Authorities said Ferguson accused Walton of stealing the motorbike, and after the shooting claimed to have seen the outline of a pistol in the sweat pants Walton was wearing. His Columbus defense attorney, Mike Garner, argued Ferguson fired in self-defense.

Prosecutor Mark Post said the shotgun blasts were fired from 3 ½ to 8 feet away. Walton first was rushed to a hospital in Warm Springs before medics took him by helicopter to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, where he died that same day.

Ferguson, then 34, was first tried for murder in November 2005, but the jury deadlocked, resulting in a mistrial. Both men had criminal records: Walton twice had been convicted of aggravated assault; Ferguson had convictions for burglary and theft by receiving stolen property, including a motorcycle. He was in prison from Dec. 2, 1991, to March 2, 1992, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections.

Besides murder, Ferguson in 2006 also was convicted of using a firearm to commit a crime, and sentenced to five more years in prison for that. He’s currently in the Macon State Prison in Oglethorpe, records show.

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