Jury debates murder case

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 12, 2003

The jury was still deliberating late Thursday night over the fate of Framondre Griffin, 23, accused of murder in the Dec. 11, 2001 murder of Tyronza Walker on University Avenue.

The 12-member jury heard closing statements by both prosecution and defense attorneys Thursday morning, said Griffin's attorney Randy Arnold. The jury began deliberations around 2 p.m. and were still in their chambers at 10 p.m.

District Attorney Gary McAliley said the case began Monday with jury selection.

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Tuesday the state rested its case against Griffin and the defense began its presentation on Wednesday. Closing statements were began around 9:15 a.m. Thursday.

McAliley said the Griffin had been arrested shortly after midnight on Dec. 12, 2001, and autopsy reports indicate that Walker had been killed by a single gunshot through the chest.

According to McAliley, police at the time recovered a .38-caliber five-shot revolver from Griffin's father, and that expert ballistics testimony during the trial established that gun as the murder weapon. Eyewitnesses testified that Griffin fired four or five rounds at the victim.

In his defense statement, Griffin maintained that he thought Walker had pulled a gun and that he fired in self-defense.

McAliley said that the jury could find Griffin guilty of murder, or of lessor charges of either manslaughter or self-defense.

"This case is so important to send a message to kids that they can't settle their problems with guns," McAliley said.

In other court proceedings this week, jury selection was to begin Monday in the murder trial of Jonathan Antoine Rumph, but was continued to allow defense attorneys a chance to examine evidence obtained in a diary allegedly belonging to the victim.

Rumph is accused in the killing of a 17-year-old Troy State freshman named Brandi Hobson nearly three years ago.

"Defense attorneys asked Judge Barr to continue the case so they could have the diary checked out," McAliley said.

He said the trial was continued until the next regular term of criminal court.