MARIETTA — A Cobb jury has heard closing arguments in the murder trial of a pair of Florida men accused of killing a Kennesaw man after an attempted robbery outside Pappadeaux restaurant in 2016.
Demarious Greene, 23, and Dylan Ledbetter, 25, were each indicted on 13 counts in March, including charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and armed robbery related to the 2016 shooting, according to court documents.
The pair approached husband and wife Anthony and Cynthia Welch in October 2016 as the couple were leaving the restaurant on Windy Hill Road near Interstate 75, according to prosecutors. The men attempted to steal the necklace Cynthia Welch was wearing, according to their arrest warrants.
Both Anthony and Cynthia Welch were shot and taken to a hospital. Anthony Welch was pronounced dead on arrival, according to police.
In Cobb Superior Court Judge Ann Harris’ courtroom on Wednesday, the jury heard the final arguments from Chief Assistant District Attorney Jessie Evans and defense attorneys David Marshall and Jennifer Adams.
“Cynthia and Anthony Welch did not deserve this,” Evans said.
Evans argued that the evidence the jury has seen, including video surveillance footage, cellphone geolocation data and witness testimony, shows that Greene and Ledbetter are responsible for Anthony Welch’s murder.
“This case, ladies and gentlemen, is about senseless greed, it’s about malice, it’s about choice,” Evans said.
Marshall, who is representing Greene, told the jury that they need to look closely at every piece of evidence and ask themselves if they trust it. He took issue with statements from some witnesses in the trial and some of the physical evidence, including a letter from Ledbetter to Greene from jail.
“They’re hungry to get a conviction against my client and Mr. Ledbetter,” Marshall said. “But when you start to mix into that bowl of all that evidence any of these issues of doubt and any issues of credibility about witnesses … that poisons what’s in that bowl. It poisons the evidence that you have to see, and it poisons your ability to be able to make an independent and common sense evaluation of guilt and innocence. That evidence is tainted.”
Adams, Ledbetter’s attorney, told the jury that the prosecution did not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
“If your minds are wavering, if they’re unsettled, if they’re unsatisfied as to what exactly happened … then you must find Mr. Ledbetter not guilty,” Adams said.
Both Greene and Ledbetter have already been convicted of an armed robbery they committed in Woodstock just days after the Pappadeaux shooting, according to Kim Isaza, spokesperson for the Cobb DA’s office. Greene and Ledbetter were sentenced to life in prison in that case.
Judge Harris gave instructions to the jury Wednesday afternoon, after which it began its deliberations. The jury was sent home at 6 p.m. and is expected to resume deliberating at 9 a.m. Thursday, according to Isaza.