HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — Two defendants charged in a deadly shooting at the Galleria last summer that resulted in the death of an 8-year-old boy have objected to prosecutors’ request to merge the cases against all three suspects.
Royta Giles Jr. died after being shot at the Riverchase Galleria July 3, 2020. Montez Coleman, William Dismukes and Demetirus Jackson are all charged in his death, as well three counts of second-degree assault for injuring two adults and another child in the shooting. The State alleges that the three men “participated in a gunfight as mutual combatants” which resulted in Giles’ death.
According to the state’s motion filed on July 7, each defendant has requested an immunity hearing, and the consolidation would have the court hear the immunity claim for each defendant separately and then consolidate the rebuttal case into a single hearing if necessary with each defendant participating.
The state also upholds that “practically and legally no prejudice” will result from consolidation because the finder of fact for each immunity claim will be the court, not a jury.
Two of the defendants’ and their legal teams do not agree, however.
On Wednesday, Jackson’s legal team filed a response and objections that stated that the “joinder of their individual cases would create an inescapable adversarial environment between them (the defendants)” and would “certainly result in unnecessary and prejudicial confusion of issues, claims, defenses, objections and arguments being made by three separate defense counsel teams.”
Coleman’s lawyers have also filed a response that opposed consolidation of the cases and argued that each defendant’s testimony may contradict the immunity claims of another and threaten due process.
Additionally, Coleman’s response acknowledged the complicated dynamics facing the trio: “As the State has pointed out in its motion, defendants Williams and Jackson are likely to present a defense that directly contradicts Mr. Coleman’s account of what happened.”
Coleman’s response suggests that the hearings for Jackson and Williams be consolidated “given that Jackson and Williams’s evidence and argument are likely to be aligned.”
The State’s motion says that it is likely that Williams and Jackson will be united in their assertions: “It is believed that Montez Coleman will assert that he was acting to defend himself from King Williams and/or Demetrius Jackson and that King Williams and Demetrius Jackson will assert that they were acting to defend themselves from Montez Coleman.”
The most recent filing directly related to Williams is a notice of discovery and intent to use prior conviction and bad acts in the case.