Friday, February 8, 2013

Jury 20-year-old's guilt in May shooting, robbery at southwest Saginaw hall

Andy Hoag | ahoag@mlive.comBy Andy Hoag | 
on February 08, 2013 at 12:21 PM, updated February 08, 2013 at 12:36 PM
Opening arguments begin in Demonte Anderson trialView full sizeDemonte M. Anderson listens to opening arguments during his trial Wednesday, Feb. 6, in Saginaw County Circuit Judge Darnell Jackson's courtroom. Anderson is charged with 11 felonies in a May 5 shooting and robbery at Celebration Hall in Saginaw.
SAGINAW, MI — A jury is deliberating whether a 20-year-old is guilty of 11 felonies in a May shooting and robbery at a southwest Saginaw hall.
Jurors began deliberating before 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, after hearing closing arguments in the trial for Demonte M. Anderson.
Because of wintery road conditions, the jurors were to return at 10:30 a.m. Friday to continue their deliberations.
Anderson is charged with three counts of assault with intent to murder, a single count of armed robbery, and seven firearm offenses in an early May 5 incident outside Celebration Hall, 1017 S. Wheeler.
His trial before Saginaw County Circuit Judge Darnell Jackson began Tuesday with jury selection, continued Wednesday with testimony, and wrapped Thursday with additional testimony and closing arguments.
Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Patrick Duggan said Anderson shot Kendrick Rogers in the upper thigh after Rogers interrupted Anderson's armed robbery of Rogers' friend, Travon McDuffy. Anderson then shot at McDuffy as McDuffy ran away, Duggan said; Kyrie Green, another friend of McDuffy and Rogers, suffered a graze wound to the knee.
Green testified Wednesday, stating that he saw somebody pin McDuffy against the wall outside the hall and Rogers try to intervene before shots were fired.
McDuffy testified Thursday and identified Anderson as the shooter. Rogers was unavailable to testify because doctors this week had to amputate part of his foot as a result of the shooting; his testimony from Anderson's preliminary hearing, in which he identified Anderson as the shooter, was read to the jury.
Anderson testified that he and McDuffy, who previously had dated the same girl, were fighting outside the hall when shots were fired.
Anderson's attorney, James Gust, said during his opening argument that there was no “credible evidence” that McDuffy was robbed and that he lost his valuables during the fight.
If convicted of any of the assault charges or the robbery charge, Anderson would face a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Anderson last year rejected a plea bargain that called for him to plead guilty to three counts of assault with intent to commit great bodily harm less than murder, the robbery charge, and the firearm offenses. In exchange, prosecutors would have dropped the three charges of assault with intent to murder.
By pleading to the lesser assault charges, Anderson's minimum sentence under state sentencing guidelines would have been lowered to a range of 14 years and three months to 29 years and eight months. He first would have had to serve the mandatory, consecutive two years for felony firearm.
Anderson remains jailed on a $1.1 million bond.

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