Attorney Says His Client Did not Shoot Spelman Student

Attorney Says His Client Did not Shoot Spelman Student

Published October 20, 2009

The attorney for the 21-year-old tech student accused of killing a Spelman student last month said it was actually his client’s friend who shot Jasmine Lynn. Devonni Manuel Benton was charged Friday in the Sept. 3 murder of Lynn, a 19-year-old psychology major at the historically Black college for women.

"He's been waiting all along for his friend to come forward," Atlanta attorney Jackie Patterson said of Benton, a student at nearby ITT. Benton’s natural inclination was to protect that friend, Patterson said. "When you have guys that have been friends for years, you don't want to rat them out," Patterson said.

The attorney said Monday that his office completed an independent investigation of the shooting with information gathered from Benton and people in Benton's neighborhood, and gave Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard Jr. their findings.

"We gave him a name and an address," Patterson said.

But Howard said he is confident that authorities already have the right man.

"With respect to the information [Patterson} brought, the police department and he DA's office have painstakingly investigated this case and interviewed numerous witnesses," Howard said. "There is no doubt that the person who murdered Jasmine Lynn is his client."

Lynn was hit by a stray bullet when a fight erupted on the campus of Clark Atlanta University, police said.

"Witnesses misidentified my client," Patterson said. "When you've got a melee going on, you could have five people who you think did it. …My client decided not to talk because he knew he had not done anything wrong. He didn't tell police what he knew because they were too busy putting pressure on him ... so he shut down."

Written by BET.com Staff

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