An Abbeville man became a free man Thursday, released from custody after a Henry County jury found him not guilty of a felony murder charge.
Attorney Arthur Medley said a jury found his client, 21-year-old Montrez Doran Brown, not guilty after around 5.5 hours of deliberation.
The trial started Monday at the Henry County Courthouse in Abbeville, and was held in front of Circuit Court Judge Larry Anderson.
Investigators with the Henry County Sheriff’s and Abbeville Police Investigative Unit arrested Brown on April 14, 2013, and charged him with felony murder. Police charged Brown with stabbing 17-year-old Tyric Brown in Abbeville. Court records show Abbeville police charged three teens for their roles in the stabbing death of Tyric Brown. Montrez Brown was 18 years old at the time of the killing.
Gregory Spann, 21, of Abbeville, was convicted of felony murder last year for his role. He later received a 40-year prison sentence. A similar murder charge remains pending against 21-year-old Marquise Barwick.
“This was a fight, it was a bloody gruesome fight,” Medley said of the killing.
Medley said one of the points he made to the jury included how DNA evidence presented at trial came back with matches to both the victim and the co-defendant, Spann, from blood found on the victim’s shoes. He also argued to the jury how DNA evidence from blood found on Spann’s shoes also came back matching Spann, the victim and an unknown third party. He also reminded jurors how Spann was injured during the fight, and hospitalized.
“The state’s version was Montrez had a belt around Tyric’s neck so Gregory could stab him,” Medley said.
Medley said that’s why the shoes in evidence became so relevant because it showed who was at the scene of the fight and who wasn't. He also said the autopsy indicated no neck injuries to the victim.
“If there’s no injury to the neck then obviously Montrez didn’t have him around the neck, and it shows their eyewitness was lying,” Medley said.
Medley said the defense did not contest Montrez Brown was on the same street on the night of the killing, but just was not part of the fight that killed Tyric Brown. He said DNA collected from physical evidence at the case excluded his client from even being at the scene of the fight.
“Myself, and on behalf of Montrez and his family, would like express our deepest sympathy to the family of Tyric. It’s horrible for any parent to have to bury their own child,” Medley said. “Our position is and the evidence supported it, that Montrez didn’t do this. But it’s still a horrible situation.”