This article was originally published here by author Andy Hoag
SAGINAW, MI – Jurors have acquitted a Saginaw man of a murder conspiracy in connection with a March 2015 shooting on the city’s South Side.
After deliberating for a total of about three hours over two days, a jury of seven women and five men on Thursday, April 21, found Dominique A. Ramsey not guilty of 10 felonies.
The jury deliberated for about an hour Wednesday and two hours Thursday before acquitting Ramsey of conspiring to commit first-degree murder, of two counts of assault with intent to murder, and of seven firearm offenses.
“Today was about justice,” said Ramsey’s attorney Alan Crawford. “Dominique Ramsey put his future in the hands of the jury, and they were clearly able to see that he was innocent.”
As Ramsey’s family quietly rejoiced over the verdict as the jury forewoman read it, Ramsey appeared to tear up at times. Once the forewoman finished reading the entire verdict, Crawford put his hand on Ramsey’s shoulder, and Ramsey nodded to him in appreciation.
The jurors began deliberating Wednesday afternoon after listening to closing arguments from Crawford and Assistant Prosecutor Daniel Van Norman in Circuit Judge Darnell Jackson’s courtroom.
The shooting occurred about 3 a.m. March 15, 2015, at Gallagher and Owen, which is just less than a mile west of the Paddock Lounge, 2921 Hess. Ramsey was working as a bouncer at the bar and, after closing time, fought with a now-30-year-old man after the man objected to Ramsey using a metal detector wand on him for a second time, testimony showed.
The man testified Tuesday that he and his wife, who were out celebrating their first wedding anniversary, were on their way home when a gray or silver vehicle quickly approached them. He said he saw Ramsey hanging out of the back passenger-side window and opening fire on their vehicle.
Police said the vehicle sustained damage from eight bullets. The man’s wife suffered a graze wound to her shoulder.
Crawford questioned the man’s identification of Ramsey, noting the man had at least 20 drinks that night and actually picked a different man out of a corporeal lineup that included Ramsey.
Ramsey’s girlfriend and child’s mother, Courtney Jackson-Quinney, testified Wednesday as Ramsey’s alibi witness and said that after she tended to a gash on Ramsey’s head, she took Ramsey to his mother’s house. Van Norman theorized that Ramsey may have been riding in Jackson-Quinney’s silver Jeep Commander because blurry surveillance footage of the shooting appeared to show a vehicle with a “three tail light configuration” that matched the Commander.
“It never should have made it this far,” Crawford said. “Dominique should have never even been charged. No physical evidence, a misidentification by the victim, but they had a bloody shirt from a bar fight and thought that would prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. The jury saw through that, and they rightfully held the prosecution to their burden.”
If the jury had convicted him of the murder conspiracy charge, Ramsey would have faced a mandatory sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole. The assault charge of which he faced two counts carries a maximum such penalty.
Despite the not-guilty verdict, Ramsey will remain jailed — for now.
A jury in January convicted him and Travis T. Sammons of the same murder conspiracy in connection with the June 2015 shooting death of Humberto Casas Jr. Crawford, who also represented Ramsey during that trial, and Sammons’ attorney, James Piazza, asked Jackson to overturn those convictions, arguing they did not make sense because the jury did not convict the men of any murder charge or any other accompanying felony.
Jackson ultimately overturned Ramsey’s conviction but did not do so for Sammons, who prosecutors said was the shooter in the homicide. Jackson ruled, however, that Ramsey will remain jailed pending any prosecution appeal of the judge’s ruling.
Chief Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Boyd said his office will “take a serious look” at appealing Jackson’s ruling. In the meantime, Crawford said he will file an emergency motion asking Jackson to release Ramsey from jail. The attorney will argue that the Circuit Court no longer has jurisidiction over Ramsey, he said.
“We’re thankful for the jury,” Crawford said, “and I’m thankful that this nightmare is finally over and Dominique can get back to his family.”
— Andy Hoag covers courts for MLive/The Saginaw News. Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @awhoag