A King County jury found Darian Downing not guilty of murder in the second degree in the shooting death of Marcus Golden. The jury believed that Downing acted in self-defense and that he was not engaged in criminal conduct at the time of the shooting.
In Washington, a homicide is justified if a person believes that he or she is in danger of great person injury or a victim of a violent felony. Downing's defense alleged that Golden attempted to assault him with brass knuckles and tire plug insertion tool. Ultimately, the jury was asked to decide whether Downing acted reasonably and whether the force used was in proportion to the threat posed by Golden.
A diverse jury that included six men and six women returned a verdict of not guilty after deliberating for a little over three hours.
Downing cried after the verdict was read by the trial judge. He had spent nearly two years in jail with bail set at three million dollars. Because the jury found that he acted in self-defense, Downing is entitled to reimbursement for all reasonable costs, including loss of time, legal fees incurred, and other expenses involved in his defense.
Downing's defense lawyer, James Curtis, argued that Downing acted in self-defense and that the prosecution ignored evidence and witness statements that demonstrated Golden's intent to assault Downing with weapons. Curtis noted that “Downing will now be tasked with rebuilding his life after two-years of incarceration.”
Prosecutors had alleged that Downing shot Golden after an attempt to intervene in a domestic dispute between Downing and his girlfriend. During trial, the jury learned that Golden armed himself with brass knuckles and a tire plug to confront Downing over an ongoing noise dispute.