A Chattanooga man on trial in connection with the 2016 shooting death of Jeremy Clark has been found not guilty of first-degree murder.
Shortly after 12 a.m. Saturday, a Hamilton County Criminal Court jury found Adrian Darnell Nixon, 33, not guilty following several days of testimony last week.
The jury will reconvene Monday to further deliberate over Nixon's additional charges including fleeing the scene of a crime.
The first day of the trial, two witnesses to the shooting could not remember key details of the evening, both saying it was "so long ago." A third witness, who Judge Don W. Poole asked not be named by the media, became combative and refused to answer any questions.
Executive Assistant District Attorney Cameron Williams petitioned the court and was granted permission to enter as evidence the 911 call made from the parking lot of J & J's Lounge at 2208 Glass St., as well as the police interview audio of the witnesses.
On Wednesday, Denise Flanagan, the defendant's former girlfriend, testified to cleaning her Dodge Challenger during the afternoon hours of July 29 as part of her weekend birthday outing — just a few hours after prosecutors say Nixon drove it to J&J's Lounge and fatally shot Clark. Flanagan also testified to Nixon telling her to not go home before they both went to her mother's house to sleep.
Then on Friday morning, Jay Jarvis, a forensic expert hired by Nixon's defense team, testified that Clark was likely shot by a person standing outside the vehicle on the driver's side while Nixon remained in the driver's seat. However, Jarvis also said that Nixon's repeated claim of an unknown person reaching in through the window of the Dodge Challenger and shooting Clark was "not plausible."
Defense attorney Bill Speek urged the jury to use their common sense during his closing arguments.
"Ask yourselves the hard questions now," Speek said. He added that if they didn't do so while deliberating, it would be too late for them to change their minds once Nixon was convicted.
"The nature of this case is a tragedy," Speek said. "One life was lost, the other is on the line."