Judge admonishes DA Mark Jones for Facebook post during jury deliberations of murder trial

National News

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — The murder trial of a Columbus man took a strange twist during the third day of deliberations when a Superior Court judge called out the district attorney for a social media post.

Drevon Johnson, 28, is facing life in prison if convicted in the 2016 shooting death of 23-year-old Richard Collier.

Monday the jury foreman told the court it was deadlocked 8-4 after more than 10 hours of deliberations. Judge Ron Mullins sent the jury home for the night and brought the 12 members back Tuesday morning.

Outside the presence of the jury, Mullins questioned a Facebook post that Jones admitted to making. In the post, the district attorney said he wished he could tell the jury about Johnson’s prior criminal convictions.

Defense attorney Anthony Johnson told the court it was highly inappropriate, and he objected.

Mullins asked Jones why he made such a post.

The district attorney answered, “First amendment.”

Drevon Johnson is facing multiple charges, including possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The jury has not been told of that charge and only will be after rendering a verdict on the two murder charges and three lesser gun charges.

Jones told the judge he would delete the post. The post in question was made from his personal account to the personal Facebook page of the victim’s sister.

Jones was elected district attorney last year, riding an unorthodox but highly successful social media campaign to unseat three-term incumbent Julia Slater.

Twenty minutes after attorneys left the courtroom, defense attorney Anthony Johnson requested to go back on the record. Anthony Johnson then asked the court for a mistrial, saying the case was likely going to have to be retried anyway because of the deadlocked jury. Mullins’s ruling was to take the defense’s request under advisement. Mullins made it clear he was not making a decision at this time.

At that point, the district attorney demanded the judge make a decision on the spot. Mullins’s response was, “I have made my decision.”

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