This article was originally published from Saginaw and Bay City News’ author Cole Waterman.
SAGINAW, MI — After less than two hours of deliberation, a jury exonerated a Saginaw man accused of fatally shooting another man during a fight on a West Side street, finding he acted in defense of his brother.
“This was a justified killing,” said Alan Crawford, the defense attorney.
Jurors in the trial of Delvon M. Jackson, 23, delivered their verdicts about 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 25, finding the defendant not guilty of open murder, carrying a dangerous weapon with unlawful intent, carrying a concealed weapon, and two counts of felony firearm. Had he been convicted, Jackson would have faced life imprisonment.
“This was a justified killing,” said Alan A. Crawford, the defense attorney representing Jackson. “He was relieved, of course, but we were confident the entire way through the trial. When you listen to the witnesses and review the evidence, it’s honestly the only decision that could come about.
“This was very gratifying to see happen,” he continued. “This was the outcome we always knew and expected.”
During the trial that began Aug. 23, Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Melissa J. Hoover argued Jackson shot and killed 42-year-old Demethic D. Warren on May 23, 2021, near Durand and Pleasant streets. She presented the case that Warren’s niece, Jamesha Nash, had attended a party where she encountered and was assaulted by Jackson’s 29-year-old brother Johnnie L. Jackson III.
Nash testified she called her uncle, who picked her up and then drove her to Johnnie Jackson’s house. Warren then confronted Johnnie Jackson, who called Delvon Jackson and arrived at the scene shortly thereafter. Nash’s mother — Warren’s sister — also arrived at the scene, she said.
Nash testified Johnnie Jackson punched her uncle, who initially did not retaliate. Moments later, Nash claimed Warren punched Johnnie Jackson one time, knocking him out and dropping him to the ground, only for Delvon Jackson to then shoot her uncle. Delvon Jackson then gathered his brother in a vehicle and they left the scene, she testified.
Crawford painted a different picture, that Warren went to the scene armed with five knives and attacked Johnnie Jackson. He presented 911 recordings showing Warren asked his sister if he could go to jail, followed by the sound of Johnnie Jackson apologizing, only for his statement to be cut off.
Delvon Jackson testified in his own defense that Warren sucker-punched his brother, who stumbled backward and was then punched a second time by Warren, thereby being knocked unconscious. Warren then pulled a knife and squatted over Johnnie Jackson, he said.
“Delvon said that’s when he shot him,” Crawford said. “He honestly and reasonably believed he was about to kill his brother and if he didn’t pull that trigger, his brother would have been the one who would have died.”
Crawford also showed the jury photos of Johnnie Jackson taken the day after the incident, showing he had numerous cuts and bruises, a bloodshot eye, and swollen bruises around both eyes. Such injuries indicated he was struck more than once, Crawford said.
Police testified during the trial they recovered five knives from the scene, including two from Warren’s vehicle. They said none of these knives were sent for DNA testing or fingerprint analysis as they already knew they belonged to Warren.
Saginaw Police Sgt. Jeffrey Doud testified that several additional witnesses at the scene were not interviewed by police.
The Jackson brothers contacted Crawford the day after the shooting and surrendered to police on May 27, 2021, before warrants were issued for their arrests.
“This was a legit rush to judgment,” Crawford said. “Delvon and Johnnie were charged four days after the incident. (Prosecutors) charged them and they had one side of the story.”
The prosecution differed on what the evidence showed.
“We respectfully disagree with the jury’s decision and thank them for their service,” the Saginaw County Prosecutor’s Office said.