A Georgia jury began deliberations on Tuesday in the case of a biracial college student charged with felony murder in what his defense has maintained was an act of self defense prompted when a pickup truck tried to run Marc Wilson and his white girlfriend off the road.
Emma Rigdon, who was in the vehicle with Wilson, confirmed the claim in testimony covered by the Statesboro Herald on Monday. She said they were driving on Veterans Memorial Parkway in June 2020 when the pickup truck tried to run them off of the road, and men inside the truck stuck their arms out the window to flip the couple off.
“We left the intersection and […] the truck started swerving into our lane, they started, you know, going up and like coming back but stayed right there with us,” Ridgon testified through tears. “I remember going on the rumble strips, and that’s whenever Marc shot to kind of say, ‘Hey, like leave us alone.’ We just wanted to go get food.”
The couple was making a trip to Taco Bell in southeast Georgia’s Statesboro. Rigdon said Wilson “shot towards the ground” and she did not know there were girls in the truck with the men she witnessed. Rigdon also said she heard a loud noise but didn’t know what it was, and she admitted to asking Wilson not to shoot, the Statesboro Herald reported.
Although Wilson declined his right to testify, he said in an interview with police that was earlier played in court that he could hear racial slurs being shouted from the pickup truck.
“They were just swerving towards us and all; they were trying to drive us off the road,” Wilson said in the recording. “I didn’t know what else to do, so I grabbed my, uh, my piece and I shot under the vehicle.”
He said he put his gun under the seat when the pickup began to trail, but it again approached his car, a Ford Fusion, the Statesboro Herald reported.
Wilson said he fired three times but when the truck kept approaching, he fired twice more. Wilson described a similar boom as Rigdon. “They came back up on me and a I heard this loud, like, ‘Boom!’ into my car,” he said.
Wilson maintained that he was shooting toward the ground, but one of the shots fired went through the truck’s rear window and hit 17-year-old Haley Hutcheson in the head, killing her, the Statesboro Herald reported.
Expert witnesses testifying for the prosecution and defense differed on the positions of the car and pickup when Wilson fired.
Wilson went to a friend’s home after the incident and attempted to borrow his truck, the Statesboro Herald reported. The friend, James Dixon, however, explained he had to drive his children and couldn’t lend the vehicle. Wilson went home and later turned himself in to the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office, turning over his gun, accompanied by his father Deron “Pat” Wilson, and attorney Francys Johnson.
“Make no mistake about it,” Johnson said in a Zoom meeting The Atlanta Journal-Constitution covered in 2020. “We believe that if Marc Wilson was a white gentlemen that night, accosted by a truckload of angry, belligerent, possibly drunk black men, and he used a legally-possessed firearm to defend himself and his passenger, that he would have been given a medal and not given a prosecution.”
Rev. James Woodall, who’s working on the case, said on Roland Martin Unfiltered in February that the original judge presiding over the case, Michael Muldrew, was removed after holding Johnson in contempt of court, a public reprimand, while trying to establish chain of custody. “So there’s several things in this case that are just completely, not only wrong but shines a light onto how court and the judicial process in South Georgia actually works,” Woodall said.
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