Jury returns verdict from 2020 murder, armed robbery in Columbus. Here’s what we know

Two men charged with murder and armed robbery from a 2020 homicide learned their fates Tuesday on the second day of jury deliberations.

Ty’Shaun Sylvester and Jessie Lee Harper were found not guilty of murder and armed robbery in a 2020 shooting that led to the death of 20-year-old Quincy Atkins, according to court documents.

Instead, both were found guilty of a lesser charge of obstruction of an officer, according to court documents.

The incident occurred in April 2020 at a vacant house on Cusseta Road, according to prosecutors.

Dwayne Jackson, Anthony McGhee and Atkins met the defendants to buy a Romanian-made Draco semiautomatic Sylvester offered for sale on Facebook, according to prosecutors Sadhana Dailey and Ray Daniel.

McGhee and Jackson, who both testified in trial, said Harper showed up as they arrived to buy the gun and pulled a pistol on them.

Atkins told them more valuables were in the trunk of his Dodge Charger. Atkins was mortally wounded when both suspects opened fire on him after he attempted to drive away, prosecutors said.

Atkins traveled a short distance before crashing into a house, Dailey said. He died at the scene.

Sylvester’s attorney, William Kendrick, told jurors the defendants were the victims of the robbery.

Kendrick said Jackson contacted Sylvester via Facebook about buying the gun, but Jackson did not show for the initial meeting.

In the second meeting, all five men were present and haggled over the price of the gun before the shooting began, Kendrick said.

Kendrick claimed Sylvester and Harper were shot at first.

He said shell casings recovered at the scene came from a 9 millimeter pistol, the same as the gun Atkins had. The Draco fires a 7.62 millimeter bullet, he said.

The witnesses were reluctant to testify against the defendants and often refused to answer questions without being ordered to, according to Ledger-Enquirer reporting.

In closing arguments, defense attorneys said the witnesses were lying.

“We know they lie,” Kendrick said. “That’s just the truth of the matter.”

Sirena Saunders, public defender for Harper, said, “If you don’t believe them, they have nothing left.”

Saunders emphasized the prosecution’s reliance on Jackson and McGhee’s testimony in their case.