Special Prosecutor Describes Evidence Grand Jury Saw Before Indicting Jake Gardner

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September 23, 2020 - 3:16pm

A special prosecutor Wednesday described some of the evidence presented to the grand jury that indicted Jake Gardner with manslaughter in the shooting death of James Scurlock.

Fred Franklin said he is saddened by Gardner’s death by suicide on Sunday.

"Him doing so deprived the community to be able to have this evidence play out at trial," Franklin said. 

That evidence includes text messages Gardner sent in the hours leading up to the confrontation and shooting on May 30.

Franklin described Gardner as waiting in ambush in his downtown bar with a shotgun and three handguns. He said Gardner texted someone about the "field of fire" being clear in case looters attempted to break in.

"That evidence is completely supportive of an intention to use a firearm to either kill or to cause serious bodily injury to whatever looter might have decided that this was a good idea," Franklin said. 

Franklin said witness video shows Gardner provoking the initial confrontation with Scurlock, which would weigh against self-defense as a justification for shooting.

Audio from Wednesday's news conference with Fred Franklin is courtesy of KETV.

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