A missing bag of marijuana led one drug dealer to shoot another after reviewing surveillance video of the store parking lot where the two were operating, a Columbus jury decided this week.
Both the assailant and the victim are in the Muscogee County Jail.
The jury deliberated just one hour Thursday before finding Terrell Tolbert guilty of aggravated assault for shooting Raymond Eugene McAllister in the legs on June 1, 2011, after Tolbert checked surveillance footage at the B&J store on Cusseta Road and decided McAllister took his bag of marijuana, said Assistant District Attorney Wesley Lambertus, who prosecuted the case.
Superior Court Judge Gil McBride sentenced Tolbert, 27, to 25 years in prison without parole, Lambertus said. He said Tolbert has two previous convictions for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and earlier this year was convicted of possessing cocaine.
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McAllister, also 27, is in jail for escape and possessing marijuana with intent to distribute, Lambertus said.
McAllister would not testify in court that Tolbert shot him, but under questioning admitted he last year told police who fired the bullet that went through one leg and lodged in the other as he tried to flee.
Investigators never found the gun, but it's believed to have been a .38-caliber revolver, said Lambertus, adding the bullet was never recovered: "The bullet's still lodged in his leg."
The trouble began about 9:30 a.m. that Wednesday when Tolbert, suspecting someone stole his marijuana, went into the store and asked to review the surveillance video. "He looks at the store video, and he's overheard saying, 'He took my weed. I am going to straighten this out,'" Lambertus said.
McAllister denied pilfering Tolbert's pot, the prosecutor said: "In his own statement, the victim tells police, 'I didn't need his weed. I go there to sell my own weed.'"
Tolbert got his gun to go hunt down McAllister, finding him about 10:30 a.m. at the intersection of Lee Street and Betjeman Drive, where the two began to argue. Tolbert fired twice, the first shot missing, the second coming at close range as he ran up behind McAllister, who was getting into a car.
Witnesses said that after the shooting, Tolbert walked casually away, saying, "I'm all about the streets." Police and paramedics found McAllister sitting beside Betjeman Drive, bleeding from his wounds, Lambertus said.
What happened to Tolbert's marijuana remains a mystery, the prosecutor said: "Nobody found any weed."