Marc Wilson is a 21-year-old biracial man accused of shooting and killing a 17-year-old girl in Georgia in what his attorney is calling self-defense against a “truckload of angry white men.”
Wilson claims to have been driving home with his girlfriend from Taco Bell when another vehicle came upon them, with a group of men inside yelling racial slurs, and then tried to run them off the road, local NBC affiliate WSAV reported.
Wilson’s attorney, Francys Johnson, claims Johnson fired on the vehicle to protect him and his girlfriend from a “Black man’s worst nightmare,” when Haley Hutchensen, who was in the other vehicle, was struck and killed.
Here’s what you need to know about the case:
1. Haley Hutchenson Was Shot in the Early Morning Hours of June 14 & Died in the Hospital, Police Say
In a release, Statesboro police said officers went to an area hospital at 12:52 a.m. on June 14 where Hutcheson was brought with a gunshot wound. She died shortly after her arrival, according to police. After determining that she was shot in a vehicle by someone in a second vehicle and combing the stretch of roadway where it happened, police issued an arrest warrant for Wilson, according to the release.
Police records report two to three shots being fired before one went in through the rear window of the truck carrying Hutcheson and fatally struck her in the head, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.
On June 17, Wilson turned himself in with his attorney by his side, police said in a second release.
On June 17, before Wilson was arrested and charged, Hutcheson’s family held a news conference pleading with the community for information and telling WSAV, “there can be mercy, there can be forgiveness, but justice has to be served.”
Hutcheson’s family told the outlet that she had just turned 17 and that, if she were alive, she would forgive whoever shot her.
2. Wilson’s Attorney Claims Men in the Truck Were Yelling, ‘Your Lives Don’t Matter’ & the N-Word
“If Marc Wilson was a white gentleman that night … he would have been given a medal and not given a prosecution,” said his legal team. https://t.co/83l3oSJoUx
— Blavity News (@Blavity) July 7, 2020
The state of Georgia has a “stand your ground” law, which Wilson’s defense says should cover his actions during the incident. Wilson’s legal team claims he was legally carrying the gun, which was also registered to him, when he shot at the occupants of the other truck, WSAV reported.
Marc Wilson makes his first appearance in Superior Court as attorneys request bond. He’s accused of shooting from his car toward another car, hitting and killing Haley Hutcheson. Defense attorneys say Wilson fired in self defense. pic.twitter.com/eHDwB2xED4
— WTOC Dal Cannady (@wtocdalcannady) July 7, 2020
In fact, Johnson told reporters in a July 6 new conference attended by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Make no mistake about it, we believe that if Marc Wilson was a white gentleman that night, accosted by a truckload of angry, belligerent, possibly drunk Black men, and he used a legally-possessed firearm to defend himself and his passenger, that he would have been given a medal and not given a prosecution.”
The men in the other truck shouted, “Your lives don’t matter,” and called Wilson’s girlfriend, who is white, a “n—er lover,” Johnson told local NBC affiliate WRCB this week. The couple “feared for their lives,” he added.
3. A Police Report Indicated That One of the Passengers in the Second Vehicle Was Also Arrested for Obstruction That Night
— Tariq Nasheed 🇺🇸 (@tariqnasheed) June 25, 2020
A Statesboro police log published in the Statesboro Herald indicates that Luke Harry Conley, one of the passengers in the second vehicle, was arrested the night of the shooting for obstructing an officer.
Conley told police that the shooting was unprovoked, according to the AJC, but later admitted that the group of four white teenagers had been drinking and someone may have thrown a beer can at Wilson’s vehicle. Police believed Conley was involved before the shooting and was seen “yelling out of a window of the victim vehicle,” the police report obtained by the AJC said.
Conley was also arrested in May on hit and run, driving under the influence and other traffic charges, according to the Statesboro police log in the Herald.
4. Johnson Is the Former President of the Georgia NAACP & Is Making a Very Public Effort to Defend Wilson
SHARE: As the United States reckons with racial injustice, no aspect of #BlackLivesMatter is more in conflict with white supremacy, then when Black people have the audacity to defend their lives against hate. #weDONEdying https://t.co/bRG66z9JFB
— Francys Johnson (@francysjohnson) July 1, 2020
Johnson is a Georgia born and raised attorney and pastor, according to his biography on his website. He is also the former president of the state’s NAACP chapter, and ran in 2018 as a Democrat for Georgia’s 12th Congressional District seat, losing to Republican Rick Allen, according to Politico.
Really great photo from Statesboro, Georgia today. Francys Johnson on the right and Mayor Jonathan McCollar on the left. Carrying a 25-foot cross bearing the names of black Americans who have recently been killed by police/vigilantes. They marched this to the police department. pic.twitter.com/U84ampXARc
— Connor Rentz (@TheConnorRentz) June 7, 2020
Johnson has set up a GoFundMe to cover Wilson’s legal defense fund. As of Thursday, it had raised $23,465.
On the page, Johnson claimed that Statesboro police had issued misleading statements to the media suggesting that the shooting involved Antifa or was random violence. Johnson says that more information will come out about the roles of Conley, as well as Mason Edward Glisson and Ashron Robert DeLoach — the two other 18-year-olds in the truck with Hutcheson — in what happened before the shooting.
“As the United States reckons with racial injustice, no aspect of #BlackLivesMatter is more in conflict with white supremacy than when when Black people defend their lives against hate … Given the lack of successful application of Stand Your Ground self-defense claims by Black people, is Stand Your Ground/Self-Defense of a Black man’s Life protected Under Law?” Johnson wrote.
5. Bulloch County Superior Court Judge Michael Muldrew Has Issued a Gag Order on the Case: No Attorneys or Law Enforcement Can Speak About It to the Media
According Bulloch County court records reviewed by Heavy, Judge Michael Muldrew on Tuesday imposed a gag order in the case. The order applies to not only the attorneys involved, but law enforcement, the families of Wilson and Hutcheson, witnesses and court personnel, according to the document.
The media will be allowed to report on goings-on in the courtroom itself, but no one involved the case will be allowed to speak with reporters, Muldrew ordered.
According to the order, anyone violating it could be hit with a contempt of court violation. Under Georgia state law, that could mean a $500 fine and up to 20 days in jail, according to Georgia law firm Danowitz Legal.
According to court records, Glisson and Conley were subpoenaed by Johnson on Tuesday. Newsone reported that they were not able to appear immediately, because they claimed to have tested positive for coronavirus.