By Erin Smith
The jury in the Montise Mitchell murder trial returned a verdict of guilty on all charges after deliberating for an hour. Superior Court Judge Rebecca Holt sentenced Mitchell to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Mitchell was convicted of first degree murder in the shooting death of Darrell Council. He was also convicted of attempted first degree murder against Antwan Council, who is Darrell’s brother.
Mitchell was also found guilty of felony conspiracy to commit first degree murder against Antwan Council and discharging a weapon into an occupied vehicle in operation. Mitchell was also found guilty of felony conspiracy to commit first degree murder against Darrell Council.
Earlier on Thursday Mitchell informed the court he would not testify in his own defense. His attorney Teresa Gibson told the court the defense would not present any evidence and Mitchell would not testify.
The State has rested its case.
In final arguments Assistant District Attorney Quentin McGee laid his argument for the jury to return a verdict of first degree murder. McGee showed the jury a picture of Darrell Council.
He told the jury that Robert Council and Antwan and Darrell Council had plans for their lives and were hoping to start businesses.
McGee reminded jurors that D’Nayza Downing testified to the fact Christopher Baldwin and Montise Mitchell were always together. She testified to the fact they were together in Lumberton on the night of November 8, 2015.
McGee reminded the jury the D’Nayza Downing contacted the Council brothers indicating she and Shanika Mitchell wanted to get together and smoke marijuana. McGee described the route the Council brothers traveled to pick up Downing and Shanika Mitchell. He reminded the jurors of Downing’s testimony that she and Shanika Mitchell were communicating with Montise Mitchell the entire time.
McGee reminded jurors that in a text to Downing, Mitchell said he was going to shoot the brothers. McGee said the Council brothers had no way to know the two women were texting Montise Mitchell nor that he was threatening to shoot them.
McGee described the shooting once more for the jury. He told the jury that following the shooting Montise Mitchell and Christopher Baldwin went to Downing’s home and the two women left with them.
Investigator Morgan Johnson was able to locate Montise Mitchell in December 2015. McGee said in the meantime Montise Mitchell was able to get rid of the murder weapon.
“There is no evidence Darrell was involved in anything violent,” said McGee.
Defense Attorney Teresa Gibson said “It is horrible Darrell Council was killed. It is horrific. It is horrible these young men fight and drive around with guns.”
She reminded the jurors that there were two individuals involved. Gibson argued it is unclear who killed Darrell Council.
Gibson also told the jury Downing will “do anything to get home to her baby.” She noted Downing has been jailed for two years waiting trail.
Downing had also accepted a plea agreement earlier in August pleading guilty to accessory after the fact of murder. She has not yet been sentenced.