Fifth District affirms first degree murder conviction

By Chandra Lye | Feb 13, 2019

MOUNT VERNON -- The Fifth District Appellate Court has upheld a first degree murder conviction despite the defendant’s argument that he did not get a fair trial.

Scottie Thompson was found guilty of murder in the 2013 death of Dakota Jones, He appealed the conviction but the appellate court upheld the circuit court's decision. 

“We do not believe jurors were likely to be misled or confused,” the appellate court decision states. 

“At trial the defendant conceded his guilt, but he asserted that he should be convicted of second-degree murder rather than first-degree murder,” the decision states.

Thompson asserts he had acted in self-defense.

“He claimed that he and Dakota Jones had an argument that escalated into violence when Jones swung a large stick at him. [Thompson] claimed that he believed it was necessary for him to strike back at Jones in order to defend himself,” the appellate court decision states. 

However, the expert medical witness' testimony did not support this scenario.

“At trial, [the expert] was asked about defensive wounds," the ruling states. "She explained that when a decedent has been involved in a physical confrontation, typically, there will be scratches or bruises on his hands or his fingernails will be broken. She said she examined Dakota Jones's hands for the presence of such injuries and found none.” 

Thompson still alleged he did not get a fair trial. 

“The defendant appeals his conviction for first-degree murder, arguing that the cumulative effect of numerous errors that occurred throughout the proceedings deprived him of a fair trial,” the appellate court decision states. 

According to the appellate court ruling, at the time of Jones’ death, Thompson was on parole having served time in jail for murder. He was wearing an ankle bracelet as part of his parole. 

During the trial, witnesses say they saw Jones helping Thompson try and jump-start his car, which had stalled. They also note that Jones indicated within Thompson’s hearing that he had a large sum of money. 

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