CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Rayquan Borum’s fate is now in the hands of the jury. Eight women and four men began deliberating Wednesday afternoon.
Borum is facing first degree murder for shooting Justin Carr during the Charlotte riots in 2016.
Within an hour of deliberating, jurors had two questions. The first one was about evidence.
“It says photos, voice calls, and videos” said Judge Gregory Hayes as he read from the note jurors sent him.
Jurors told the judge they wanted to see most of the 124 pieces of evidence prosecutors presented. They requested all photos, and asked for transcripts of videos of interviews Charlotte Mecklenburg Police conducted with two witnesses.
One of the witnesses was a reporter who was covering the riots, and was at the scene when the shooting happened and called 911.
The second transcript that jurors asked to review was from the man who was with Borum the night of the shooting and said he saw Borum shoot. The jury also asked for transcripts of phone calls.
About 15 minutes later the jury had a second question. They asked the judge for the definition of possession. The other charge Borum is facing is possession of firearm by felon.
Before deliberations began, each side had a chance to talk to the jury one last time to argue their case and try to persuade jurors.
“You’ve seen the evidence,” said Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Desmond McCallum, as he asked the jury to apply the facts to the law and told them there’s “only one verdict – guilty.”
Prosecutors painted the picture of a night with two faces. There was the face of Justin Carr and peaceful protesters making a statement about a police shooting. Then ADA McCallum turned to the other side of the night when he said Rayquan Borum took part in mayhem and looting and incited violence against police.
“Grip a glock, shoot back” McCallum said that’s what Borum was chanting in a video played for jurors.
“That tells what his intention was – this is shoot back. He’s telling you what he wants” said McCallum and reminded jurors of the videos and screen shots that showed what investigators say is Borum firing the gun outside the Omni Hotel. Prosecutors contend he was aiming for police.
“Once that bullet left it doesn’t have a name” McCallum said.
The prosecution said when police questioned Borum after he was arrested, he told investigators that he broke up the gun and threw it out of the window. Detectives say when they searched the house where Borum lived, they found 9mm bullets similar to the spent shell casing found at the scene. And then there were the phone calls that Borum made from jail. The prosecutor told jurors – put the evidence together.
McCallum told jurors there’s nothing he could say that would bring Justin Carr back.
“Only thing that can be done is justice,” he said. “Hold that man accountable…hold him accountable for first degree murder.”
“The state hasn’t proven anything. The state hasn’t proven my client shot Justin Carr” said defense attorney Mark Simmons.
Simmons told jurors that detectives didn’t do a thorough investigation and didn’t test the shell casing found at the scene that he says was left unsecure for hours. The defense says CMPD didn’t want answers. They wanted to make an arrest.
“CMPD needed it done quick fast and in a hurry” he said.
Borum’s lawyers told jurors to question the prosecution’s theory that Borum was trying to shoot police.
“What police officer was Mr Borum trying to shoot,” asked Simmons. He told jurors there was a concrete wall separating Borum from police. “If you believe Mr. Borum was shooting at all – how in the world did he intend to kill a police officer if there was a concrete barrier between him and all the police officers?”
He said there’s no video that clearly identifies his client as the gunman.
Simmons told jurors his client was not guilty of first degree murder and read the different elements of malice needed to prove second degree murder.
“I would argue to you ladies and gentlemen if anything the state may have proved that last second degree murder count,” Simmons said.
The defense says the man who testified he was with Borum the night of the shooting and saw Borum fire the gun shouldn’t be trusted because he’s a convicted fraudster looking to help himself with a possible deal. Attorney Simmons told jurors to be attentive when reviewing the evidence.
“That man had the right to a fair trial,” said Simmons, telling jurors it’s now on them and it’s “not a decision to be reached quickly.”