By Joe Johnson
After hearing a week of testimony, a Clarke County Superior Court jury on Tuesday acquitted an Athens man of murder charges from a fatal shooting nearly four years ago.
According to Athens-Clarke County police, Joseph Desmonde Baughns, 36, fatally shot 34-year-old Jarred Lamar Sanders of Gainesville on July 27, 2020 during an argument at Bethel Midtown Village that escalated to violence.
Baughns is charged with killing Jarred Lamar Sanders, 34, who was visiting Athens from his home in Gainesville, where he worked in a chicken factory. Sanders, who once lived in Athens, was known around ton as “St. Louis,” from where he originally was from.
A grand jury subsequently indicted Baughns for malice murder, two counts of felony murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and three counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
The trial jury convicted him only on the convicted felon with a firearm charge.
Baughns fled after the shooting but surrendered two days later
He remains incarcerated at the county jail, with sentencing on the illegal gun charge not yet scheduled.
The case ws prosecuted by Western Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Gerald Henderson, and Baughns was represented by William McIntosh Jr., an attorney with the judicial circuit's Public Defender Office.