Opening statements wrap up in Albany nightclub death trial

Opening statements wrap up in Albany nightclub death trial
Travion Jones

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The trial for those indicted in a 2017 death at the Sandtrap 5.0 nightclub is underway, as opening statements wrapped up Wednesday morning.

Five of eight men indicted in Travion Jones’ death are standing trial.

(Mitchell Co. Sheriff)
(Mitchell Co. Sheriff)

Those standing trial and their attorneys are:

  • James Byrd - Attorney Shawn Hoover
  • Dominique Davis - Attorney Mark Phillips
  • Stacy Frazier - Attorney Ben Harrell
  • Derrick Jenkins - Attorney Rick Collum
  • Daquan Moore - Attorney Joesph Cargile

Over 30 witnesses have been called in for the trial.

From the trial:

Cortez Houlton, Jones’ cousin, was the first eyewitness.

Houlton said he was with Jones at the time of the shooting.

Jones’ cousin testified that Davis tried to pick a fight inside the club as he approached him and Jones. Houlton said he told Davis he wasn’t there to fight about a situation that happened earlier.

Houlton testified Byrd also approached him and Jones outside the club.

A fight broke out and the defendants and Houlton and Jones were eventually all thrown out.

Houlton testified he heard the defendants say “They ain’t leaving the parking lot alive.” Houlton said police where outside when that was said and all defendants, except Frazier, were seen.

Houlton said the defendants were waiting for them outside the club.

Prior to the shooting and after being removed from the club, Houlton testified he saw the men passing around a gun. Houlton later testified he saw a gun being passed around in the parking lot, which started with Derrick Jenkins, traveled to Samuel Jenkins, and got into Davis’ hands.

Houlton said as he and Jones were trying to walk away since they saw the gun, they also saw Jones’ car blocked in as he alleged the cars belonged to the defendants. They called for a ride since they were trapped. When Houlton’s cousin picked them up, they got in, in front of the club. Jones’ car was 80 yards from the club, according to testimony heard Wednesday. Houlton said Jones got in the truck and said “I need my house keys before we go.”

As he stepped out, Houlton said that’s when shots were fired and he saw Davis with the gun and fired the shots. Houlton said he saw Davis pull the trigger as Jones was trying to get back to his car to get his house key to go home.

Houlton said while shooting happened, he saw Byrd with Davis.

Houlton said five people were in the car that picked up Jones and Houlton from the club.

Attorney Mark Phillips argued that in past interviews with the Albany Police Department, Houlton said Jones had a gun in his car.

Prosecutors said Ricardo Rhymes, one of eight men indicted in this case but not on trial, was in the courtroom and heard a key witness’ testimony.

Rhymes was one of over 60 potential witnesses they informed at the beginning of trial, that they couldn’t be in the courtroom prior to taking the stand.

Rhymes said his public defender told him, because of his plea deal, he didn’t have to testify in this case.

“If I take the probation of 10 years, 10 year probation, I forgot what it’s called, an officer can search me anytime if pulled over... I’ll waive my fourth amendment and I don’t have to come back to testify and Ricardo Rhymes will be out of the case,” said Rhymes.

Around 5 p.m. on Wednesday, it was agreed upon to not have Rhymes as a witness in the case.

Read the full indictment below:

The trial will continue Thursday morning at 9 a.m.

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