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Murder suspect found not guilty

A jury found Brundidge native Demarcus Flowers not guilty Wednesday in the 2017 murder of Xavier Hakeem Thomas of Brundidge.

Prosecutors had levied a murder charge against flowers for his alleged involvement in aiding and abetting the murder of Thomas, which occurred in the parking lot of a senior center at Walding Circle in Brundidge on May 26, 2017.

Thomas was sitting in his car with friend Bernard Still when a vehicle allegedly driven by Tie Townsend pulled up next to him, at which time Jacory Townsend stepped out of the passenger seat and fired multiple shots at Thomas before fleeing the scene in the vehicle.

The defense contended that Flowers had no involvement at all in the crime and that Brundidge police had sought to connect Flowers to the murder without any evidence pointing to his participation.

The jury ultimately sided with the defense that insufficient evidence had been brought forward to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Flowers was involved in the crime.

Assistant District Attorney Jon Folmar said the verdict is disappointing for the family.

“We’re sorrowful for the family,” Folmar said. “We respect the jury and the jury system and their verdict. We’re hopeful that in the future, people will settle their differences in the courtroom rather than out on the streets.”

The prosecution argued that Flowers had helped to plan the murder after his grandmother’s residence was allegedly robbed by Thomas just weeks earlier.

Tige Townsend pleaded guilty to murder in the case and initially was sentenced to a 20-year split sentence, of which he would have spent five years in jail, on the condition that he testify for the state during the trail. But last Wednesday, Tige Townsend appeared before the court to recant his testimony, stating that he was the driver of the vehicle used in the transportation to and from the crime, and that Flowers had not been involved in any way.

According to the original deposition of arrest for Flowers, law enforcement officials formerly believed Flowers to be the driver of the vehicle.

Thomas’ family said they appreciate the work that was done on the case, but are not satisfied with the result.

“It was a major blow; we weren’t expecting that,” said Anthony Reeves, Thomas’ father. “We thought the district attorney did a great job laying out the facts of the case and we had a good jury. We just thought a lot of things didn’t go in our favor as far as consideration of some of the strong evidence and some things the judge had to overrule. With everything in our hearts, we believe (Flowers) is the guy that put everything in motion.”

Reeves said the family feels that they have gotten “20 percent” of justice for Thomas’ death with the convictions of Jacory and Tige Townsend, and that they are willing to wait years to bring to justice other individuals they believe to be involved in the act or planning of their son’s death.

Because Tige Townsend rescinded his testimony for the state, the district attorney’s office is moving forward to change his sentence.

“With him now saying that he was the driver of the vehicle, I believe he should be sentenced appropriately, to the fullest extent of the statute,” Folmar said.

Murder is a Class A Felony punishable by up to life in prison. A hearing to set aside Townsend’s sentence is scheduled for Sept. 26 at 10 a.m. at the Pike County Courthouse.