The trial of three alleged ‘biker gangsters’ came to a dramatic end Wednesday when they were found not guilty of murder in the fatal shooting of Dominic Mitchell during a 2015 battle between rival Columbus motorcycle clubs.
“You killed my damn son!” Mitchell’s mother Penny Bennett shouted as relatives and deputies rushed her from the courtroom after Judge Bobby Peters announced the verdict. “I don’t mind going to jail! You murdered my son! I want to go to jail!”
Defendants Daginald Wheeler, 53, and James Daniel Jr., 38, were found not guilty of all the charges, which included murder, aggravated assault, robbery and gang violence. Their codefendant Demark Ponder, 48, also was found not guilty on those charges, but jurors found him guilty of making a false statement to police, for which Peters gave him two years in prison.
The verdict followed an earlier courtroom dispute Wednesday over a juror’s defying the judge’s instructions to refrain from discussing the case with anyone beyond the room in which jurors were deliberating.
Peters learned jurors were complaining the foreperson Tuesday night had contacted a spouse’s friend who once was a pledge to the Outcast Motorcycle Club, with which the three defendants were affiliated.
They were accused of joining other Outcasts in invading a Macon Road sports bar where a biker group called the Strikers were hosting a meet-and-great. Mitchell was shot twice in the chest when a brawl erupted within seconds of the Outcasts entering the bar.
As the Outcasts fled, a shootout ensued in the parking lot, where evidence showed more than 70 shots were fired and three people were wounded.
Check out the video report from Ledger-Enquirer.
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