August 10th, 2017, Ernest Martin Stevens, a 77-year-old White man, and retired fire chief, was sitting in his truck minding his own business. Devon Dunham, a 28-year-old Black male, walked up to Stevens and fired eight shots from a 9 mm handgun. Investigators say that the victim tried to speed away as Dunham continued firing.
The killing took place in Jasper County, SC, a rural majority non-White county. Jasper is 46% Black and 43% White.
Dunham then fled to Savanah, GA, where he was later arrested and extradited. He immediately confessed to the police that he killed Stevens. The trial began in late May of 2021 and only lasted a few days. Dunham still admitted to shooting and killing an elderly man who was sitting in his car.
Dunham’s defense attorney argued that he approached Stevens to ask him for a ride, but Stevens got mad and threatened him. This supposedly caused Dunham to feel his life was in danger and shoot in self-defense.
In his opening statement, the defense attorney suggested that Stevens threaten Dunham because he is Black.
After a two-hour deliberation, the jury found Dunham “Not Guilty” of murder last Thursday. A second felony weapons charge was automatically voided because of the verdict.