The legal defense team representing Marcus Wilson in a Bulloch County murder case is asking a judge to consider whether or not Wilson should be immune from prosecution because he acted in self defense.
Marcus Wilson faces charges of Felony Murder, Possession Of Firearm Or Knife During Commission Of Or Attempt To Commit Certain Felonies, and five counts of Aggravated Assault in the death of 17-year-old Haley Hutcheson who was shot on Veterans Memorial/Bypass in Statesboro. Wilson was traveling behind a truck with five people in it when he fired a shot into the back window, which struck Hutcheson in the head and killed her.
Wilson has maintained that he acted in self-defense, claiming the truck was chasing him and tried to run him off the road at one point. He reportedly told detectives he fired multiple shots at the bottom of the car hoping the men would stop pursuing him. He did not report the incident to police and went to a friend’s house after the incident, borrowed a car, and then drove to his parent’s home in Coweta County, according to court testimony.
WSAV reported in December that one of Wilson’s attorneys said a passenger in the vehicle used racial slurs when he was brought in for questioning, but a detective with the Statesboro Police Department testified that he did not recall being in the room when a statement like that was made. The claims of racial undertones have been a resounding component of the case since the beginning as Wilson alleged that he was harassed and threatened by the individuals in the other vehicle as they uttered racial slurs.
Wilson has five attorneys on record: Martha Hall of Statesboro, Francys Johnson, Mawuli Davis of Decatur, Nefertara Clark of Atlanta, and Gary Spencer of Atlanta. District Attorney Daphne Totten is prosecuting the case.
Motion for Immunity Hearing
Attorneys Francys Johnson and Mawuli Davis filed ‘Brief in Support of Motion for Immunity’ in Bulloch County Superior Court on August 5. The 13-page document does not include an actual Motion requesting a hearing date for attorneys to make their case, but Judge Michael Muldrew’s office scheduled one for September 22.
Citing Georgia’s Stand Your Ground statute – O.C.G.A. § 16-3-24.2 – attorneys say Wilson should be immune from prosecution because:
- The evidence clearly shows that Wilson’s vehicle was being attacked by the truck occupied by the other Party.
- The evidence clearly shows the racial animus exhibited by the other Party.
- Wilson attempted to ignore the truck’s initial encroachment of his vehicle lane of travel but the truck continued in its violently aggressive advancement causing Wilson to fear for his life and the safety of his passenger.
- Wilson fired three warning shots underneath the car as not to harm anyone, but to deter the aggressors.
- The other Party also caused something large to strike Wilson’s car. Wilson believed that the Party was shooting at him when something struck the car. Wilson, being in reasonable fear for his life, his passenger’s life, and his vehicle’s (habitation) safety, used his handgun to fire twice in defense of the same.
- Wilson lawfully used deadly force to defend his habitation, his vehicle, when he was threatened in a violent and tumultuous manner by the Party.
The Supreme Court has stated in preceding cases that “a mere threat of force is all that is required when one reasonably believes that he must defend himself against another’s imminent use of unlawful force.”
In another Bulloch County murder case in which Dustin Cowart is charged in the death of Ray “Buddy” Beasley Jr., defense attorney Matt Hube argued for immunity of his client, though Muldrew has not yet issued a ruling on that hearing from June.
Wilson has been in jail since he was charged in June 2020 as Judge Muldrew denied bond during a preliminary hearing in August 2020. Wilson’s attorneys sought bond again in December 2020 and called nine witnesses on behalf of Wilson. At the time, Muldrew said he would “need a few days” before he would make a ruling, but eight months later, Muldrew has not issued an order granting or denying the request.
Attorneys Johnson and Davis also represented the family of Julian Lewis in the recent high profile officer-involved shooting case in Screven County. In that case, which included the same felony charges for which Wilson was initially arrested, the attorneys argued that the former Trooper should not be granted bond and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Johnson also praised the district attorney’s office for their role in the case early on and was quoted in the Sylvania Telephone in June 2021 saying “If the DA believes it is murder, then it is murder.” Johnson has since said those words were taken out of context.
A Change.org petition was launched last year to ‘ensure Wilson has a fair trial’ and called on activists to contact Statesboro Mayor Jonathan McCollar, who has no authority over or involvement in the case. As of publishing, the petition had over 152,000 signatures.