A Black Georgia man is scheduled to appear in court today (July 7, 2020) to determine if he will be granted bond after the shooting death of a white teen who was part of a group driving in a truck who allegedly hurled racial slurs and chased the man and his white girlfriend.
William Marcus Wilson, 21, of Sharpsburg, Ga., was charged with felony murder and aggravated assault in the case that has prompted Georgia’s civil rights community to join forces. Lawyers and activists say authorities mischaracterized the case to the public and they allege if the races had been reversed, Wilson would have been hailed for defending himself and his girlfriend against potential danger.
The case unfolded on June 14th. Wilson and his girlfriend went to get some fast food for dinner in Statesboro, Ga., in his Ford Focus when the group in the truck began calling Wilson “n**ger” and his girlfriend a “n**ger lover,” Wilson’s lawyers said. The group in the truck also allegedly shouted, “Your lives don’t matter,” an apparent play on the “Black Lives Matter” theme. The shouts and racial insults began in the parking lot of the restaurant but once the couple drove off, the group in the truck reportedly chased Wilson and his girlfriend onto a rural road. At some point, they used something to hit Wilson’s vehicle, his lawyers said.
A licensed gun carrier, Wilson pulled out his firearm and “fired off a warning shot” at the truck because he believed both her and his girlfriend were in danger. Haley Hutcheson, 17, of Reidsville, Ga., was pronounced dead at a hospital a short time later.
Wilson’s attorneys are “trying to stop a legal lynching from taking place,” lawyer and former NAACP Georgia president Francys Johnson said during a press conference on Monday (July 6) via Zoom. “Marcus has cooperated and done everything asked of him and the system already is beginning to fail him.”
Lawyer Mawuli Davis, who also is working on the case, said during the press conference that Wilson should have been granted immunity from prosecution.
Pat Wilson, Wilson’s father and Coweta County, Ga., fire chief, described his son as a strong Christian who loves people and has a passion for football and other sports.
Wilson’s mother, Amanda Wilson, said through sobs that local coverage of the case did not present the reality of her son.
“Mark is a loving and caring person and he has been … made to look like somebody that he’s not,” she said during the Zoom press conference.
Pat Wilson said his son is the kind of man who would act to protect the passenger in his car. “He felt scared and he reacted the way he felt that he had to,” the father said.
A Change.org petition has been created in Wilson’s name to ensure he receives a fair trial and granted bond in order to be released from Bulloch County Detention Center.
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Bulloch County Detention Center.