(CMR) The jury in the trial of Javon Dixon (29), who is accused of killing his friend Jovin Omar Fuentes (32) last year, informed Judge Cheryl Richards that they were unable to agree on a verdict in the weeks-long trial after three days of deliberations.
The six women, five men jury was sent back out on Monday to consider the lesser charge of manslaughter, which does not require a unanimous decision. Judge Richards informed them that only a majority of nine needed to agree on the verdict. Ultimately, they were unable to do so.
His attorney noted that she would be requesting a bail hearing given the fact that Dixon would otherwise be in prison custody until his re-trial date in late August 2023.
Fuentes was reportedly out with other family members taking his grandmother to the hospital when Dixon confronted him about the $175 he owed him. He was shot shortly after as family members looked on. Dixon denied shooting Fuentes but did admit that he was on the scene in the car. However, in his police interview, Dixon claimed a man who was traveling with him had shot Fuentes.
Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Candia James-Malcolm, in her closing argument, said Dixon's story that someone named “Blacks” was responsible for the murder was “a complete concoction” and a “red herring meant to distract from the plain truth”.
She pointed out that no one else saw the elusive Blacks in the car at the time of the incident and that Dixon had lied about Blacks, just as he had lied about his movements after the shooting and about losing his phone.
Dixon did not take the stand in his own defense during the trial but gave police an account of the incident following his arrest. However, the prosecution said his description of “Blacks” was so vague the police would not be able to identify this person if he existed.
The prosecution said none of the scenarios presented by the defense made sense because it was a lie. She questioned how Dixon coincidentally picked up Blacks by chance just moments before he came across Fuentes near a mini-mart and had an argument about a debt of $175, all while Blacks sat in the car. Just moments after returning to his car with the argument resolved, Blacks suddenly shot Fuentes.
“But as the saying goes, the devil is in the details because there were some things that he could not anticipate when he was giving his story – such as the CCTV and the telephone records, which the police did not yet have but which would later contradict his account,” the prosecutor stated.
She pointed out that CCTV did not show anyone in the passenger seat of the car being driven by Dixon. Additionally, Dixon claimed to have lost his phone but called his girlfriend shortly after the shooting.
“If you were an innocent bystander, a victim yourself of this nameless shooter, your good friend had just been shot and killed, then why not call for help, why not tell the police what happened as soon as possible,” James-Malcolm said.
She stated that instead, he hid for two hours before he was arrested.
The defense questioned the accuracy of the account of four witnesses who said they saw the incident. The defense also questioned the thoroughness of the police investigations and the reason the police never attempted to find the person who was in the car with Dixon at the time of the shooting.
While conceding some inconsistencies in the witnesses' statement, the prosecution said CCTV filled in missing details in the accounts. In addition, all of the eyewitnesses who were in close proximity to the incident say that the defendant was armed with a gun when he came out of the car.
The deputy DPP reiterated to the juror: “Each of these witnesses saw their nephew murdered right in front of their eyes. What is the one thing that will stick out in their minds? The person who did it!”