Jabari Mitchell not guilty of murder in shooting of Trelin Reed


Highlights

District Judge Clifford Brown told the jury to keep deliberating after they had reached an impasse.

The defense for Jabari Mitchell says police failed to look into other suspects.

After an impasse earlier in the day, a Travis County jury came to an agreement Wednesday evening and acquitted a man accused of shooting his ex-girlfriend’s brother over a social media dispute.

The seven women and five men judging defendant Jabari Mitchell returned the not guilty verdict after two days of deliberations spanning more than 13 hours.

Mitchell, 26, was on trial for two weeks for the fatal shooting of Trelin Reed, who was struck by 13 gunshots while sitting in a Ford Explorer at a North Austin convenience store in November 2016.

After the verdict was read, Mitchell turned and hugged his lawyer, Amber Vazquez.

“This entire situation has been a tragedy and I’m glad it has come to an end,” Vazquez said. “I am glad an innocent man was acquitted.”

EYE ON CRIME: Click to receive our Crime and Safety Report by email every Monday

The men had arranged to fight on the night of the murder after feuding over a nasty break-up between Mitchell and Reed’s sister. Mitchell had accused the woman, Brea Murphy, of vandalizing his vehicle. He responded by posting a video on Facebook of her performing a sexual act on him. That prompted Murphy to post a video of Mitchell performing a sexual act on her.

The fight never happened. Mitchell directed Reed to various restaurants and gas stations, but kept changing his mind after encountering large groups of people, prosecutors said. Mitchell said he would be arriving “one deep,” meaning alone.

Prosecutors said Mitchell then instructed Reed to drive to a Mobil station at the corner of Interstate 35 and East St. Johns Avenue. When Reed arrived, an unidentified person began shooting at the Explorer through a missing plank in a privacy fence. Surveillance video from the store picked up the shooting, but not the shooter.

Another person in the car drove Reed to the hospital where he died.

Mitchell faced five to 99 years in prison on the murder charge. He also was acquitted on two counts of aggravated assault; two people who were with Reed at the store also were wounded.

Hours before the verdict was read, the jury signaled to the court that they had reached an impasse after about 10 hours. That prompted District Judge Clifford Brown to call them into the courtroom and encourage further discussion. Had they not reached an agreement, Brown likely would have declared a mistrial.

In closing arguments Tuesday, Vazquez accused Austin police of not looking into other possible suspects. She suggested the shooting might have been related to a robbery that Reed admitted to committing earlier in the day in Wells Branch. An alleged witness to the shooting spoke with police and described the shooter as Hispanic, Vazquez said. Mitchell is black.

By the time Mitchell spoke with police the next day, detectives had already prepared an affidavit for his arrest, Vazquez said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

UPDATE: Parmer Lane in Northeast Austin reopened after crash cleared
UPDATE: Parmer Lane in Northeast Austin reopened after crash cleared

6:50 p.m. update: Parmer Lane has been cleared after rescue crews extricated a person trapped in a two-car collision, medics said. Parmer Lane had been shut down near the Harris Ridge Boulevard intersection for approximately 30 minutes while crews worked to free the crash victim. No one was taken to the hospital. Earlier: One person is entrapped in...
After Saturday’s ‘rain bomb,’ more showers might be in sight this week
After Saturday’s ‘rain bomb,’ more showers might be in sight this week

The rainwater that engorged the San Gabriel River above 24 feet Saturday left as quickly as it came. By the afternoon, the floodwaters that displaced several families from an RV park and trapped dozens of people at a wedding venue near Liberty Hill had receded. “It really and truly is a wave of water that goes through” the river, said Jarred...
LEANDER: Police searching for driver involved in fatal hit-and-run
LEANDER: Police searching for driver involved in fatal hit-and-run

Leander police are looking for the driver of a pickup truck that they say was involved in a fatal hit-and-run late Saturday. Police said they received a call about a crash involving a motorcycle and pickup truck at the intersection of Palmera Ridge Boulevard and Ronald W. Reagan Boulevard in Leander just before midnight Saturday. According to a witness...
3D-printed gun maker Cody Wilson back in the U.S. after Taiwan arrest
3D-printed gun maker Cody Wilson back in the U.S. after Taiwan arrest

Cody Wilson, the Austin man who created designs for an untraceable 3D-printed gun and has fought the federal government in court for years to publish the instructions online, was brought back to the U.S. and was expected to return to Austin on Sunday evening after being arrested in Taiwan on sexual assault charges. Wilson, 30, was booked into the Harris...
Tiger Woods: Some fun facts to know
Tiger Woods: Some fun facts to know

Tiger Woods ended a five-year victory drought when he won the Tour Championship on Sunday. >> Read more trending news  By finishing two shots ahead of Billy Horschel with a 1-over-par 71 and an 11-under-par 269 for the tournament, Woods earned his 80th career win on the PGA Tour, second only behind Sam Snead’s 82. It was Woods&rsquo...
More Stories