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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. Proceedings continue Friday in a Knox County, Tennessee courtroom. Christopher Drone Bassett, 22, Kipling Colbert Jr., 22, and Richard Gregory Williams III, 23, are charged with first-degree murder. Prosecutors said they were among two carfuls of gunmen who opened on Dec. 17, 2015. Police said Dobson shielded two girls from bullets.
“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.
The three defendants also face charges of first-degree attempted murder, and employing a firearm during a dangerous felony. Bassett was also indicted on a count of unlawful possession of a weapon.
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 the defendants all worried about media coverage tainting potential jurors in the Knoxville area. Bassett’s lawyer tried and failed to get the case tried in another jurisdiction.
The jury faced a shakeup. A juror arrived late Monday, and no-showed court Thursday, so the judge replaced this person. An alternate will fill the spot.
Zaevion’s brother Zach Dobson testified about being at the scene of the murder. He was on a porch when he heard gunshots, he said. Zach said he couldn’t identify the shooters. Neither could Louis McNair, another witness.
Stay with Law&Crime.com and the Law&Crime Network for continuing coverage of the trial.
[Image of Dobson via Facebook]
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