More than three years after police found Julian Kelly sprawled on the ground bleeding from four gunshot wounds in Silver Spring, the man believed to have pulled the trigger was acquitted of two counts of murder.
The jury was hung on two other counts against Tyshon L. Jones, 21, of Tennessee: felony murder and use of a handgun in a crime of violence. Prosecutors had not decided if they would seek a new trial on those counts.
It took a Montgomery County jury less than two days to find Jones not guilty of premeditated first-degree murder, second-degree murder, armed robbery and robbery.
“We’re very pleased with the verdict, but it’s important to note the case might not be over,” said John Sharifi, Jones’ attorney.
Kelly died in September 2010 from an infection related to his gunshot wounds.
Police in Knoxville, Tenn., arrested Jones in March on an assault and disorderly conduct charge and discovered that he was wanted on murder charges in Montgomery County.
Jones was the fourth man police had connected to Kelly’s shooting.
In December 2011, Shamire Moore of New Carrollton was found guilty of second-degree assault and conspiracy to commit second-degree assault. Charles Baxter and Khalil Fields, both of Briggs Chaney, were also initially arrested and charged in Kelly’s murder.
Charges against Fields were dropped in October 2010, and Baxter was ultmately acquitted of the charges he faced.
“We respect the jury’s decision,” said Ramon Korionoff, a spokesman for the Montgomery State’s Attorney’s Office. “It was a tough case, but we prosecuted it as we felt we should.”
Prosecutors will evaluate the two counts on which the jury had not reached a verdict and decide how to proceed, he said.
In opening statements, prosecutors said Kelly, a father of two, got off a bus in Silver Spring and was walking home when he bumped into Moore. That chance encounter led to a fight, then a shooting.
According to testimony in court, Moore followed Kelly with some of his friends, and tried to rob him of his bag.
When Kelly resisted, Moore and several others kicked and beat him.
One witness, London Woods, said in court that she had seen the fight.
“It seemed like an hour to me,” she said. “We were just standing there watching.”
Woods testified that after Kelly was shot, she and a friend stayed at the scene of the shooting, rooted to the spot. They watched Kelly, his white shirt covered in blood, as he struggled toward the road.
“I couldn’t move, even if I wanted to,” she said, growing emotional.
She flagged down a passing car and asked the occupant to call 911, she said.
Sharifi said he and Jones “appreciate” the jury’s verdict and will watch for the prosecutor’s decision on the remaining counts.