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Authorities say 15-year-old Zaevion Dobson died shielding his friends from gunfire. Now three men are on trial for his death. Jurors are scheduled to hear opening statements in a Knoxville, Tennessee courtroom on Tuesday at approximately 9:00 am EST.
Christopher Drone Bassett, 22, Kipling Colbert Jr., 22, and Richard Gregory Williams III, 23, are all in court for first-degree murder. Prosecutors said they were among two carfuls of gunmen who opened fire on a crowd of people Dec. 17, 2015. Police said Dobson shielded some girls from the gunfire.
“He had dropped to the ground by then and he grabbed us and he was trying to put chairs on top of us,” friend Faith Gordon told WATE in 2016. “He was telling us to get down.”
He was shot and killed, police said.
Dobson’s act of bravery and self-sacrifice caught national attention. ESPN made a documentary about his brief life and gave him a posthumous award. Then-President Barack Obama commended him.
This complicated the case, as attorneys for Bassett, Colbert, and Williams all worried about media coverage tainting potential jurors in the Knoxville area.
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[Image of Dobson via Facebook]
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