It took a jury a little over an hour to convict Daquon Sheeley of murder for the death of John Ferrel Adamson and the attempted murder of Gerald Haggerty.
The evidence prosecutors presented to the jury over four days showed two different weapons were used and likely two different shooters were involved in the 2017 incident. In his closing statement Thursday, Fifth Judicial Circuit assistant district attorney Kevin Hall argued Sheeley should be accountable for both crimes because Sheeley was a part of making a drug deal go wrong through an attempted robbery. Hall said Sheeley was guilty of both crimes through accomplice liability.
“It is a difficult abstract to explain to a jury,” Hall said. “It is where one person is held legally liable for the act of another. They can’t just be there. They take part in some part of it.”
Prosecutors said it is like being the getaway driver for a bank robbery where others go into the bank and shoot the teller. Even though the driver never set foot in the bank, the driver is still liable for the death.
Sheeley was accused of conspiring with Dazmon Shaw and Travorick Black. All three were indicted for murder and attempted murder. Testimony in the trial revealed the trio planned to rob Adamson of 2 pounds of marijuana. Shaw pleaded guilty to manslaughter and first-degree assault in the incident Monday and testified against Sheeley. Shaw said Sheeley shot Adamson and Black held a gun on Haggerty. Forensics on the projectile recovered from Haggerty’s back revealed it was fired from a .45 caliber weapon. Adamson was killed by a smaller projectile. Shaw said it was Sheeley with a High Point gun.
Only one gun was recovered from the scene. It was a .40 caliber Glock, still larger than what killed Adamson. It belonged to Haggerty and was under the steering column of his Jeep. Shaw testified Adamson pulled the weapon when Haggerty was ordered to put his hands behind his head. Shaw said he ran when the chaos started.
Fifth Judicial Circuit Court district attorney Jeremy Duerr said it was the evidence collected by former Dadeville assistant police chief Chris Martin that made it an easier case to present and help the jury understand a confusing situation.
“Chris did a great job,” Duerr said. “It was not an easy case but the evidence collected helped make the case.”
Hall echoed Duerr’s sentiment about Martin’s efforts in the case.
“Without the level of attention to detail, it would not have come out the way it did,” Hall said. “We felt good about putting Mr. Sheeley there with a gun.”
Martin measured out the crime scene creating a detailed map of evidence surrounding Haggerty’s Jeep Cherokee. Witness statements and testimonies matched most of the evidence collected by Martin.
“It all lines up,” Hall said in his closing statement.
Sheeley’s attorney, Chad Harrison, said in his closing statement it was a hard case to understand.
“It is difficult on all levels,” Harrison said. “The time of day, the location, the physical evidence and there are no shell casings.”
Harrison said if Sheeley was guilty of anything, he could not have done both and should not be convicted of both murder and attempted murder under accomplice liability because the marijuana was not taken. Harrison also argued Shaw was the responsible party.
“If he is guilty of anything, it can only be one,” Harrison said. “He either is guilty of the murder of (Adamson) and shot him or either he intended to kill (Haggerty) and shot him.”
Harrison said footage from a body camera from the first police officer on the scene showed Adamson making a statement just before he died.
“‘(Shaw) set it up,’” could be heard from Adamson in the video, Harrison said.
Harrison admitted to the jury the prosecution put Sheeley at the scene on Jah Street in Dadeville.
“They have proven he was there, but they haven’t proved the crime,” Harrison said. “The two victims are there for a drug deal.”
Harrison went on to argue if Sheeley had been charged with robbery or distribution of drugs, he could be an accomplice, but Sheeley wasn’t.
“We had a bad thing go down on Jah Street but this is not sufficient to find (Sheeley) was intending to shoot and kill him or aided and abated,” Harrison said.
Duerr thanked the jury members for their service in the difficult case.
“You could not ask for a better jury,” Duerr said. “The fact they sat here for four days. They never asked to take a break. They were attentive and taking notes. They did a wonderful job. I’m thankful they saw it the way they did.”
Hall couldn’t agree more.
“This case had 16 witness, 84 exhibits,” Hall said. “I definitely think the jury was engaged and paying attention.”
While Sheeley was standing before Fifth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Isaac Whorton after the conviction, he expressed his displeasure in being charged with attempted murder. Sheeley said the information at the jail where he has been held for the last two years was different.
“I was charged with murder,” Sheeley explained to Whorton. “The only bond at the county jail for me was for murder.”
Whorton said Sheeley needed to speak with his attorneys on the matter. Testimony through the trial was for both murder and attempted murder as were the opening statements and closing arguments.
Whorton presided over Sheeley’s trial. He said Sheeley will be sentenced Jan. 6.
Duerr put Sheeley’s defense team on notice about asking for a longer sentence.
“We will be seeking sentencing outside the guidelines,” Duerr said. “This is a more serious crime involving a gun and other elements.”