STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) — A jury has found Marcus Wilson guilty of involuntary manslaughter for the death of 17-year-old Haley Hutcheson.
Wilson was initially charged with felony murder and aggravated assault for shooting into a moving truck and striking and killing Hutcheson in Statesboro in June 2020. Wilson will be sentenced on Sept. 20.
Hutcheson’s family said they’ve been waiting for justice in her death for two years and feel they finally got it on Wednesday afternoon.
“Haley had a very loving family,” Haley’s mother Allison said. “She was very much loved, she was so special to us and not a day goes by that we don’t think about her and she will forever live on in our hearts and in our memories.”
Wilson was found not guilty of the original charges in the indictment including felony murder, five counts of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Wilson’s family was also emotional in the courtroom as the verdict was read shortly after 1 p.m.
The state argued Wilson was not justified in his use of force, while defense claimed he fired his gun in self-defense.
“Marc Wilson, if he had presented as a white man and the occupants of that truck were Black, Marc Wilson would have been given a medal and not a prosecution,” defense attorney Francys Johnson said.
“What Marc Wilson did was a crime and we hope that this will be a message to others in the community that you can’t take the law into your own hands and just shoot people like this,” said District Attorney Daphney Totten. “And what he did was wrong and we’re just very grateful from the bottom of our hearts.”
Both defense and the state agreed to add lesser charges to the jury’s instructions before deliberation. Prosecutors said it was done to give the jury more options. Defense attorneys said their request to also add a misdemeanor involuntary manslaughter charge was not granted.
“I think if that option had been included as we asked and insisted, that this jury would have found Marc guilty of the misdemeanor version of involuntary manslaughter and he’d be coming home,” Johnson said.
It took the jury roughly eight hours to deliberate after four days of witness testimony. In Georgia, involuntary manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.