Defense to present its case today in Childersburg shooting trial
by Chris Norwood
TALLADEGA COUNTY – The prosecution presented its case in court Tuesday and rested in the assault trial of Jermaine Donquez Hall, 24, of Childersburg. The defense will put on its case today, and the case is expected to go to the jury by late morning or early afternoon.

Hall is accused of shooting Tomas Swain, then 17; Quintavious Benson, then 16; Lawrence Brown, then 17; and Julius Ison, 18 at the time. All four victims attended Sylacauga High School.

All four victims told essentially the same story to the jury Tuesday. On Wednesday, June 14, 2012, they attended church services at The Rock Christian Center in Sylacauga, then went to Ison’s house. They eventually met up with Deangelo Craig, who left with Ison and Brown. Ison and Brown came back about 20 minutes later, saying that Craig had met a girl in Childersburg, and they would need to go pick him up later. The four decided to go to the Sadie Lee Homes Housing Project in Childersburg to visit Ison’s sister.

She was about to take a shower, so the four boys decided just to walk around and kill some time. While walking down the street, they encountered Hall, who was holding a long gun of some sort.

According to the victim’s testimony, Hall asked them if they had driven up in a gray Ford Taurus, and they said no, they had come in a silver Mercury. Hall said something to the effect of if they had come in that Taurus, they better get out of his hood.

At this point, Swain snickered and said something along the lines of “is he serious?”

All four said that Hall, who they did not know, said “You think this is a game,” and opened fire.

Swain was hit in the right shin, Benson was hit just above the knee, Brown through the foot, with fragments landing in his leg and arm, and Ison was shot in the left thigh with an exit wound in his lower abdomen. Ison was airlifted to University Hospital in Birmingham, and the other three were treated at Coosa Valley Medical Center in Sylacauga.

All four victims described the attacker as a short, black male with shoulder length dreadlocks and a dark complexion. All four were able to pick Hall from a photo array with no difficulty, and even though he has since cut his hair, had no problem identifying him in the courtroom.

Childersburg Police Capt. Doug Wesson testified that once Hall became a suspect, he took the descriptions given by the victim and plugged them into the state driver’s license database, then placed Hall’s photo in with a selection of nine other random males with similar descriptions.

Several shell casings were recovered at the scene, along with some bullet fragments. The gun was never recovered, but investigator Donald Elkins said the casings were consistent with an SKS or AK 47. No attempt was made to get fingerprints off the casings.

The defense did not put on any evidence Tuesday, but is expected to present alibi witnesses today, based on defense attorney Will Hollingsworth’s opening statement.

The defense in this case, he said, is that Hall simply did not do it.

If convicted, Hall faces 10 years in prison.

Contact Chris Norwood at

© 2013