It was a battle over consistency and discrepancy Friday as attorneys made their closing arguments in the murder trial of Dundell Cash, charged in the Nov. 10, 2006, fatal shooting of Euan Dougal outside what was then the Platinum Club on Columbus’ Manchester Expressway.
Prosecutors told the jury it had ample evidence to convict Cash, now 49, of gunning down the 25-year-old Dougal about 3:15 that morning, shortly after 2525 Manchester Expressway business closed.
Defense attorney David Wolfe emphasized conflicts in what witnesses told police about Cash and in their descriptions of the gunman.
Assistant District Attorney Ray Daniel told jurors the prosecution’s primary witnesses were consistent in testifying they saw Cash standing beside Dougal right before the shooting, and no one else was nearby.
One witness, Dennis Archer, initially told police he saw Cash shoot Dougal, and he picked Cash’s picture from a photo lineup and signed it. But when called to the witness stand this week, Archer denied seeing the shooting and identifying Cash.
Daniel’s colleague Chris Williams told the jury witnesses gave a telling account of Cash’s earlier conduct inside the nightclub: A waitress said he kept grabbing at her clothes, and told her he would kidnap and keep her.
She said he summoned a dancer to his table and not only propositioned her, but said he would shoot her if she didn’t go home with him.
Sean Mansker, who was a bouncer at the Platinum Club, said he twice had to tell Cash to obey club rules against standing at the stage and trying to talk to dancers.
Mansker also said Cash spoke to a dancer the bouncer was escorting to her car at closing time, and when Mansker told Cash that was not allowed, Cash replied that he had spent hundreds of dollars that night and he wanted some “p---y,” a slang term for female genitalia.
Mansker and Dougal’s then-girlfriend Samantha Taylor both recalled that right before the shooting, they saw Cash standing next to Dougal just outside the nightclub entrance.
Dougal died from three gunshot wounds, one to his chest and two to his abdomen. Witnesses reported hearing four to seven shots. Daniel said that shows Cash meant to kill Dougal: “That’s no accident. That’s intentional.”
What the witnesses saw cannot be dismissed, Daniel said: “Those accounts by witnesses who were there are still credible, believable.”
But they are not all consistent, Wolfe said: Some said the shooter was a taller man wearing a gray, hooded sweatshirt. One told police he saw a man fitting that description with a gun in his pants at a nearby Chevron station right after the shooting.
“That perpetrator was not Dundell Cash,” Wolfe said of his client, who is 5-foot-10. “Some guy six feet, three inches tall shot Dougal.”
Archer testified the shooter wore a gray hoodie, said Wolfe, yet a dancer and a nightclub manager each said Cash that night wore a large, dark-colored jacket. The dancer described it as a “bomber-style” jacket like an aviator’s uniform.
Taylor told the court Cash was dressed in a navy-blue T-shirt when she saw him outside by Dougal, Wolfe noted.
He also emphasized that some prosecution testimony was refuted later. For example, the bouncer said Cash got his attention earlier in the evening because all customers had to show some ID at the door, and Cash had none. The manager, who went to high school with Cash, had to OK admitting him.
But the manager testified he wasn’t working that night. All he did was drive through the parking lot to see what the turnout looked like. That’s when he noticed Cash outside the club in a black or dark-blue jacket.
The case came to trial 10 years after the killing because it took two years for authorities to find Cash, and in the meantime they lost track of Archer, their key witness. A Muscogee grand jury did not indict Cash in 2009 because police thought Archer was dead.
Then they found him living in New Jersey, and in 2015, a grand jury indicted Cash for Dougal’s homicide.
It’s no surprise Cash left Columbus after the shooting, Williams said: “That’s a guilty conscience. He ran.”
Williams said no witness’ description of the shooter excluded Cash. Estimates of height are subjective, and Cash fell within the range witnesses cited. Descriptions of a “gray hoodie” and a “baggy” dark jacket also are not inconsistent, Williams said.
Calling the prosecution’s case “speculation, conjecture and supposition,” Wolfe told jurors Cash’s never returning to the nightclub was hardly evidence of guilt, considering what happened there. Wolfe said he bet a lot of customers never went back after that.
After closing arguments Friday, jurors began their deliberations about 3:15 p.m. Three hours later they asked to be dismissed until Monday morning, having reached no verdict.