DECATUR — Antonio V. Gray, a 35-year-old parolee charged with armed robbery for an incident in which the 51-year-old victim was shot in the crotch, was acquitted by a judge who cited a lack of consistent testimony by witnesses.
“The court finds the defendant’s guilt has not been proved beyond a reasonable doubt,” Associate Macon County Judge Timothy Steadman said Friday afternoon.
It is not unusual for there to be inconsistent statements in criminal cases, but in the case of this victim, “this is to the extreme,” the judge said.
When the victim was initially interviewed by police, he said he was robbed by two unknown males, and stuck with that story for a long time.
“Quite frankly (the victim’s) credibility is very poor,” Steadman said.
The shooting incident, which occurred early in the morning of Aug. 1, involved the victim, an admitted heroin user, and two men, Gray and a younger man, according to the victim’s testimony. He was treated at hospitals in Decatur and Springfield for a gunshot wound, in which he was struck in his penis, with the bullet exiting through his right buttock.
In his closing argument, Assistant Public Defender Randy Baker reminded the judge that the victim first told police he was shot beneath an underpass. He later said he must have been shot south of the underpass. After he finally told police that he was shot in a mobile home, an officer was sent there to investigate.
However, there was no conclusive evidence that the shooting actually took place at the trailer, Baker said.
Baker said that when the victim got around to the story about being robbed and shot during a heroin deal, he first said Gray shot him, but later changed that story, saying the younger man shot him.
There was also testimony that the victim was arguing with a couple of other males in the mobile home’s kitchen several hours before the shooting, possibly about a heroin deal.
The victim testified on Thursday that the reasons he did not tell the police the truth initially were because he was afraid of recriminations and being arrested.