ATLANTA — One of three men convicted in the murder of Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ nephew asked a judge for a new trial on Monday.
Channel 2′s Mark Winne was the only reporter in the courtroom when Rashad Barber saw a judge.
District Attorney Fani Willis said Darius Bottoms was an innocent victim of gang violence when he was gunned down in his car in 2014.
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“The victim is an absolute innocent,” Willis said. “He was a college student. He worked a job at Home Depot.”
Willis said Barber is one of at least two gunmen who fired toward Darius Bottoms’ car. Her office is not only opposing his efforts to get a new trial, but wants the new judge in the case to sentence him to more time. Barber was convicted to life with the possibility of parole plus 25 years in 2017.
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“We believe that his sentence should be increased by a total of 25 additional years,” Willis said.
Willis said the original judge in the case got bad advice, and Barber was improperly sentenced when it came to the gang and gun charges.
On Monday, Barber’s case was continued until September, when he will have a hearing on a motion for a new trial.
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Bottoms’ parents, Darian Bottoms and Myeka Jennings, said Barber’s request for a new trial just opens old wounds. They want him to get the maximum sentence.
“Now, he must deal with his consequences the way that we have had to deal with what he’s done to our lives,” Jennings said.
Willis said what happened to Darius Bottoms years ago was part of the brewing gang crisis now fueling much of metro Atlanta’s violent crime.
“The violence in Atlanta,” Jennings said. “Just bring the old Atlanta back, because this is crazy.”
“It just got worse, and since then it got worse and worse,” Bottoms said.
Willis said her office is taking a strong stance against gun violence.
“Innocent lives get lost as long as this gang violence is going on,” Willis said.
For Bottoms and Jennings, the loss of their son is a pain that continues every day.
“It stays with me all day, every day,” Bottoms said.
“I know there’s a purpose for us, seeing that justice get seen in this manner, so we cant give up because we got a verdict,” Jennings said.
Defense attorney Michael Starosto said Barber maintains he’s innocent and wasn’t a gang member. A motion filed by Starosto alleges the evidence presented at the original trial was insufficient to support his client’s conviction.
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