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Monday, February 16, 2009

Accused Shooter's Fate in GA Jury's Hands

Here's the story from the Gwinnett Daily Post:
LAWRENCEVILLE - Despite several hours of deliberation Friday afternoon, a jury couldn't decide whether Joe Lee Farris was the triggerman in a tow-truck driver's death two years ago in Norcross.

Superior Court Judge Ronnie Bachelor dismissed jurors for the weekend at

5 p.m. Friday. Deliberations are expected to resume Tuesday morning, following Presidents Day.

Farris, 43, of Carrollton, is accused of fatally shooting Olugbenga "Ken" Ikuesan, 47, in the driver's seat of his wrecker on May 9, 2007, near Peachtree Industrial Boulevard.

In closing statements Friday, lead prosecutor John Warr, Assistant District Attorney, told jurors Farris' alibi is "ridiculous" and shouldn't be taken seriously. Farris has claimed he knew the victim only in passing and wasn't in the area the night of the slaying.

Expert witnesses have testified that a bullet found lodged in Ikuesan's skull matched that of a 9mm found under Farris' porch in Carrollton. Following the shooting, Farris suddenly moved to the Carroll County city after 18 years in metro Atlanta, Warr said.

"I don't know what happened out there that night," Warr said. "We may never know ... only the defendant knows now."

Farris testified this week that Ikuesan wished to die - and was contracting his own killer - because he had terminal cancer. The victim's family called that preposterous, in that Ikuesan was never diagnosed with the disease, as an autopsy later proved.

Farris said the victim approached him about the paid killing but claimed he backed out.

Ikuesan, a Nigerian immigrant, had booked an itinerary for a trip home that was to start two days after his death, Warr said. Police found Nigerian currency in Farris' possession, which defense attorneys claim may have belonged to Farris' wife, who is also of Nigerian descent.

The motive for the killing, prosecutors say, was robbery.

Here's another story on this case.

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