Attorney: Shooting was ‘terrible accident’

Published 3:00 am Thursday, April 13, 2017

The 2014 shooting of Jacquerean Marshall was a tragic accident “that could have been any of our children,” said the attorney of the man who pleaded guilty in the incident.

“This was a terrible accident and a child was accidently injured by another child. This could have been any of our children,” attorney Michael Bunn said in a statement this week.

Javon Pryor, 21, pleaded guilty last week to first-degree reckless assault in connection the shooting that left Marshall blind. The incident took place when Pryor was 18 years old and Marshall was 17. According to court records, Pryor shot Marshall at a party the two were attending on the night of July 26, 2014.

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Prosecutor Jon Folmar said Pryor was showing off a pistol that inadvertently went off and shot Marshall in the face. When officials arrived, the scene had been staged to make it look like Marshall had shot himself.

“When police got to the scene it had been staged to make it look like the victim had shot himself,” Folmar said. “(Pryor) had placed the gun in the victim’s hand and Detective McLendon saw from the angle of the body and the victim that there’s no way the gun would have stayed in the victim’s hand if he had shot himself.”

Bunn said the question in this case was not the accidental nature of the shooting.

“The question in this case was not whether these two young boys were part of a terrible accident, it was whether the actions in this accident rose to the level of recklessness that would result finding Javon guilty of a crime,” Bunn said. “ Whether or not that could have been proven is no longer an issue. Javon chose to forgo a trial on the matter and accept a settlement agreement. As part of that settlement agreement, the case regarding the allegation of terrorist threats has been dismissed.”

Bunn is referring to a charge brought against Pryor last July when Pryor allegedly made posts on social media threatening specific Troy police officers. One of the officers named in the post tipped off Police Chief Randall Barr about the threats and Pryor was arrested during a court hearing applying for youthful offender status for the reckless assault charge. The judge did not grant him the youthful offender status.

Bunn said it’s hoped that both Pryor and Marshall will be able to “move forward from this terrible ordeal and reach their full potential.”

Nena Williams, Marshall’s mother, said she forgives Pryor and hopes he can turn things around.

“Just know I forgive you,” Williams told Pryor in a Facebook post. “I’ve told you before and I still do! …  I really hope this is a turnaround for you and that you be the person God has created you to be.”

Pryor received a 10-year split sentence for the charge and will spend two years in prison and three years on probation.