A Newton County jury deliberated nearly eight hours over two days before finding a 19-year-old Conyers man not guilty of murder but guilty on three lesser charges late Thursday afternoon at the Newton County Judicial Center.
Jalyn Colbert had been charged with malice murder and felony murder in the May 2019 shooting that left 18-year-old Avantia Henry of Covington dead.
Prosecutors had argued that Colbert was trying to steal Henry’s Glock pistol and shot Henry in the arm and caused his death when he tried to get the weapon back.
Defense attorney Jennifer Arndt of the Newton County Public Defender’s Office told jurors her client never meant to kill the victim.
Colbert reportedly left the scene after the May 3 shooting on Kristen Place but turned himself in to authorities two days later.
He showed little emotion as Newton County Assistant District Attorney Alex Stone read the verdict. Others in the courtroom were overcome with emotion and left the courtroom. Some wept quietly in their seats.
Arndt told The Covington News the situation was difficult for everybody. She also talked about the work done by the jury.
“The jury deliberated for a very long time,” she said,” I think the verdict speaks to their view of the case.
“It was a tragic situation for both sides.”
Though he was acquitted on the most serious charges, Colbert was still convicted of aggravated assault, theft by taking and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Arndt said he faces up to 30 years in prison.
Superior Court Judge W. Kendall Wynne scheduled sentencing for Feb. 19 at 9:30 a.m.