A Charleston County jury acquitted a murder suspect who testified last week that he gunned down a 19-year-old man in self-defense.
Jared Lavour Carson, 23, of North Charleston, had faced additional charges of first-degree burglary and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. The jury deliberated for roughly eight hours before returning not-guilty verdicts Thursday, said 9th Circuit Assistant Solicitor Greg Voigt, who prosecuted the case.
The charges were issued in August 2013 following the shooting death of Bervin Green of North Charleston.
Carson shot Green at Green’s apartment on Napoleon Drive. Green’s girlfriend told police that a man knocked on the door and then pointed a gun in her face when she answered. The man demanded to see Green, she reported to police, and forced his way into the home before firing the shots.
Carson’s attorney, Donna Taylor, questioned the validity of the girlfriend’s version of events, saying the woman’s testimony was inconsistent over the course of the investigation.
Forensic evidence supported Carson, Taylor said. A wall was between where the woman said Carson was when the shots were fired, Taylor said.
“In order for her to have been telling the truth, the bullet would have to have turned a corner,” Taylor said.
Carson testified at trial that he didn’t force his way into the home, instead telling the jury that he was there to buy marijuana.
Green pulled a gun on him during the drug deal and a struggle ensued, Carson told the jury. He gained the upper hand, Carson testified, and he fired Green’s weapon to protect himself.
Green died at Medical University Hospital from injuries suffered in the shooting. While searching his apartment, police found green, plant-like material rolled into cigar wrappers.
Investigators struggled to pinpoint a motive while pursuing the murder charge against Carson, Voigt said.
“The witnesses we had didn’t know what the motive would have been. We never knew,” Voigt said. “He alleged self-defense. I argued against that.”
Voigt said he “would hate to speculate” on whether a lack of a clear motive hurt his case.
“There are so many factors that go into these cases,” he said.
Taylor said Carson’s acquittal “reinforces how our system does work,” considering the jury weighed the forensic evidence and other facts of the case before reaching a conclusion.
Carson was seeking a degree at Trident Technical College before he was charged in Green’s death, Taylor said. He had no prior criminal record in South Carolina, State Law Enforcement Division records showed.
Carson and his family declined to comment on the situation out of consideration for Green’s family, Taylor said.
Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at Twitter.com/celmorePC.