Jurors hear opening statements

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Almost two and a half years after a fatal stabbing occurred at Club 29 in Troy, jurors on Monday began to hear testimony in the case of the man charged with murdering Jacobi Jones.

Aquantis Thomas, 22, is charged in the July 2012 incident that lead to the death of Jones.

During opening statements in Circuit Court, Prosecutor Jeff Moore said the case would be based on what the jurors believed and that Thomas had come to the club the night of Jones’ performance to “settle a score” relating to a rap song.

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“It all became very aggravated,” Moore said.

Defense attorney Brandon Coots said after Jones was stabbed, the crowd at the club reacted in a violent way, engulfing Thomas in a brutal attack.

Jurors heard from several witnesses on Monday, including Wayne Floyd with Troy Police Department. Floyd described his initial observation of the scene the night of the incident as “complete disarray,” but when Detective Michael O’Hara went back the next day he testified crime scene had “appeared to be cleaned up.”

“Debris were swept up,” O’Hara said. “Some tables had been moved around as if they were trying to clean around them.”

Eyewitnesses who had been at the club that night had varying testimonies about the number of people the club. Shaquita Grimes estimated there to be “maybe 100,” while Justin Youngblood said there were 25-30 people in the club.

Grimes also testified that after an altercation with Thomas following a performance, Jones “had his shirt lifted up and his intestines were coming out.”

Youngblood testified that Thomas had come into Club 29 that night “like he had something planned.”

“I just read the expression on his face,” Youngblood said. “I knew what was on his mind because Jacobi and him had beef earlier that week.”

Youngblood also testified that Jones had identified Thomas as stabbing him, but according to Taryn Bostwick, with Alabama Department of Forensic Science said no DNA evidence was present on the handle of the knife to confirm whether Thomas had in fact been holding the knife.

Detective Sonny Schriver said Thomas had stated that Jones had hit him in the head with a bottle, but no eyewitness from the night of the incident could testify to seeing Thomas hit in the head with a bottle.

And, although Thomas pleaded not guilty to Jones’ murder at the initial hearing, Schriver testified to Thomas having told him that he “happened to find the knife on the floor, picked it up and began slashing it back and forth.” And, went on to say he had “hit Jacobi.”

The state rested Monday shortly after lunch, and defense called approximately four more witnesses before recessing.

The trial resumes at 9 a.m. today.