Correction: An earlier version of this article listed William Cunningham and Ben Bradford as Shropshire's defense attorneys. A judge disqualified their law firm from representing Shropshire before the trial, arguing Cunningham and Bradford held a conflict of interest because Bradford represented the victim in a previous case. This story also mistakenly reported that Shropshire's was 21 years younger than Jackson. He is 21 years older than Jackson.
A Walker County, Ga., man who killed his neighbor two years ago will not go to prison.
A jury on Thursday morning found Broadrick L. Shropshire not guilty on counts of felony and malice murder. The Walker County Sheriff's Office arrested Shropshire in March 2014, hours after he shot 30-year-old Roderick Michael "Ricky" Jackson Sr. in the head. Shropshire told investigators he was acting in self defense.
His attorney, Albert Palmour, said he built his defense in this week's trial around three elements. First, Shropshire was 21 years older than Jackson. Second, at 6 feet, 4 inches tall and 290 pounds, Jackson stood about 9 inches taller and outweighed Shropshire by about 130 pounds.
And third, Palmour said, Shropshire and the other witnesses testified that Jackson threatened their lives.
"This guy was terrorizing people in their home," Palmour said. "Unfortunately, he didn't have sense enough to leave."
Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney Herbert "Buzz" Franklin did not return a call seeking comment.
Palmour said witnesses in the case gave the following account of what happened that day two years ago: Shropshire was hosting his aunt, Sharon, and 67-year-old Ross Harris at his home at 70 Wesley Drive, about 2 miles east of LaFayette, when Jackson came over.
Jackson was texting his girlfriend and wanted to meet her at a motel. He didn't have a ride, though, so he asked to borrow Shropshire's car. Shropshire said no, and Jackson threw a drink in his face.
For a moment, Shropshire couldn't see. He retreated to his bedroom and grabbed something to wipe his eyes off. He could hear Jackson in the kitchen, yelling and threatening the others.
Shropshire grabbed a .32-caliber handgun and shot Jackson.
"What actually made him pull the trigger in the kitchen?" Sheriff Steve Wilson said at the time of Shropshire's arrest. "We're really not sure."
But Palmour said more information came out during the trial. Shropshire told Jackson to leave. Jackson refused. Instead, he charged toward Shropshire. Harris tried to step in, but Jackson pushed him aside. Shropshire then fired, aiming for Jackson's head.
Palmour said a crime lab report showed that Shropshire was between 6 inches and 2 feet away from Jackson when he pulled the trigger. Palmour added that the toxicology report showed that Jackson had cocaine and amphetamines in his system.
"This poor boy," Palmour said of Jackson. "If he just left [that day], he'd be with us."
Palmour also introduced evidence during this week's trial to question Jackson's character. When prosecutors called Jackson's girlfriend to the stand, Palmour said he asked about a custodial action that had been filed in court by Jackson's own mother. Seeking custody of Jackson's two children, his mother had argued in court that Jackson uses drugs and beat his girlfriend.
Palmour said he also called some of Shropshire's friends to the stand, who testified that Shropshire had never previously had a criminal history.
"Broadrick was just a fine man," Palmour testified, "and Roderick wasn't such a fine guy."
Palmour said his client is looking forward to working again. He said the last two years have been filled with financial struggles because Shropshire lost his job as a telecommunications technician with the Tennessee Valley Authority after his arrest.
"It's been two years of his life on hold," Palmour said. "I mean, he was pretty sincere with me. He wished it had never happened. It's going to bear on his mind, even though a jury and he [himself] felt like he was justified in what he did.
"It doesn't make you feel any better for taking someone's life."
Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @LetsJett.
This story was updated May 19 at 10:40 p.m.