After 17 hours of deliberation, the jury in the murder trial of four men accused in the 2013 fatal shooting of David Scott returned a mixed verdict.
Three of the four defendants were found guilty of felony murder for killing Scott while committing the felony of aggravated assault on Sept. 19, 2013, when they unleashed a barrage of bullets at the Chevrolet Impala that Scott was driving.
One suspect was not convicted of any of the charges against him. The jurors found Donald Rydell Fair not guilty of malice or deliberate murder, and not guilty of tampering with evidence and third-degree arson for allegedly burning a stolen pickup truck used in Scott’s slaying.
On six other charges the jury divided nine to three, with most voting not guilty. Because they were unable to reach a verdict, Fair could be retried on those counts, which were felony murder, criminal attempt to commit a felony, using a firearm to commit a felony, theft by receiving stolen property and two counts of aggravated assault.
Assistant District Attorney Christopher Williams said prosecutors later will decide whether a retrial is warranted.
The jury acquitted all the other defendants of malice murder charges, too, but not felony murder.
Here’s a rundown of Wednesday’s verdict:
▪ Christopher Deshawn Pender: Besides felony murder, he was found guilty of two counts of aggravated assault and one count each of attempting to commit a felony, using a firearm to commit a felony, theft by receiving stolen property, falsely reporting a crime and making a false statement. He was found not guilty of a second count of using a firearm to commit a felony, and the jury divided seven to five on charges of armed robbery and a third count of aggravated assault, with seven voting not guilty and five voting guilty.
▪ Tyrecquiss Shaewaun “Shae Shae” Wells: Besides felony murder, he was found guilty of armed robbery, fleeing from the police, attempting to commit a felony, theft by receiving stolen property, three counts of aggravated assault and two of using a firearm to commit a felony.
▪ Christopher Don Whitaker: Besides felony murder, he was found guilty of attempting to commit a felony, using a firearm to commit a felony, theft by receiving stolen property and two counts of aggravated assault. He was found not guilty of armed robbery and a third count of aggravated assault.
Judge William Rumer has scheduled their sentencing hearing for 3 p.m. March 25.
Scott was the father of three sons. His first cousin, Tafi Scott, spoke to reporters after the verdict.
“His boys here, they had to go through three weeks of heartache and pain,” she said of the trial and lengthy jury deliberations. “But ... God always says love the ones who are still here, and never forget the one that’s gone.”
She added: “It was a long three weeks for us, draining, just draining.”
The families of the victim and the suspects communicated during the trial, without bitterness.
“We’re not mad at their families,” Tafi Scott said. “They were raised by some good people. We just thank God we were able to come together and have a conversation, one on one, and be there for each other.”
She had a message for others tempted to engage in gun violence. “Just please stop. Stop the violence. Put down the guns and do the right thing. … Please, I’m begging you: Stop the violence.”
David Scott’s life came to a violent end as gunmen fired nearly 30 rounds from four weapons at the car he had just borrowed from his cousin, Bryant “Diamond Earl” Early, a gambler known to carry $2,000-$3,000 on him for card-playing money, authorities said.
The assailants hunting for Early didn’t know Scott was using his cousin’s car so he and lifelong friend Eric Morris could drive to a store on Brown Avenue, prosecutors said.
Morris testified he and Scott were on their way back, traveling on Seventh Street to a stop sign at Coolidge Avenue, when a tan 2003 Ford F-150 raced up and blocked their path. Two men with pistols ran toward the Impala, which Scott shifted into reverse, backing into a tree as he tried to get away.
A hail of bullets hit the car, coming not only from the men with pistols, but also from others in the truck. A bullet that fragmented as it shattered the Impala’s windshield hit Scott above the left eye, passing through his brain. He died at the hospital. Morris was uninjured.
Prosecutors said Scott’s homicide was the fourth crime involving the pickup truck, which was stolen in Columbus about 3 a.m. Sept. 16, 2013. It later was used in a home burglary on Cheyenne Drive.
On the day Scott was shot, Wells, Pender and Jayln Dixon used the truck while trying to rob a marijuana dealer on Baltic Court, where Whitaker arranged a meeting. Wells drove the pickup and parked it out of sight until the dealer arrived around 8 p.m., when Dixon and Pender rushed him with guns.
They opened fire as the dealer sped away, wounding him in the stomach.
Dixon was not on trial with the others because he pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and agreed to testify for the prosecution.
After trying to rob the drug dealer, Wells hatched a scheme to rob a “gambling house” on Church Avenue, where Early regularly played cards, prosecutors said. The house was about two blocks from where Scott was shot.
The gunmen were on their way there around 10:30 p.m. when Wells saw Early’s white Impala and told his cohorts the driver was their target, initiating the shooting, authorities said.
Caught in a crossfire, Pender was hit in the leg, and police later would be summoned to St. Francis Hospital to question the gunshot victim. They also would be called to Bayberry Drive and Buena Vista Road, where they found the Ford pickup in flames.
The first four suspects were soon in custody, but not Wells, who about 3:30 p.m. the following Sept. 24 was seen driving his girlfriend’s car and ran from police, reaching speeds of more than 125 mph and nearly hitting a school bus on Steam Mill Road, police said. Wells later ditched the car and tried to run away, but officers chased him down.