A Fredericksburg jury was unable to decide Thursday night whether a city man acted in self-defense when he killed another man last year outside his home.
Jacquin N. Davis, 45, was charged with first-degree murder and using a firearm in the commission of a felony. His trial started Wednesday in Fredericksburg Circuit Court.
Davis killed 39-year-old Chinonso Ibe on June 26, 2021, outside Davis' home in the 100 block of Wellington Lakes Drive. Ibe was shot once in the chest during an altercation that began earlier that day during a heated telephone conversation between the two men.
Judge Gordon Willis declared a mistrial after being convinced that the jury was not going to be able to make a unanimous decision. Jurors had indicated that earlier in the evening, but Willis sent them back into the jury room to continue trying to reach a decision.
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Commonwealth's Attorney Elizabeth Humphries said that although Ibe used poor judgement in going to Davis' home that night, his slaying was not justified. She said that the statements of an eyewitness and actions attributed to Davis following the slaying showed a "consciousness of guilt."
The eyewitness was Ibe's then-pregnant girlfriend, Leisha Garnett, whose credibility was attacked throughout the trial by defense attorneys Eugene Frost and Colleen Barlow. Garnett admitted lying four different times, including once during a preliminary hearing while under oath, regarding her knowledge about the gun Ibe was carrying.
"Her story is a complete and total fabrication," Frost told the jury, adding that it was an "atrocity" that the prosecution used an admitted liar as a key witness.
Testimony showed that Davis and Ibe exchanged heated words on a Facetime call that ended with Davis telling Ibe to never call his phone again. Davis testified Thursday that he was trying to help his girlfriend beat a drug problem and that Ibe was providing drugs to her.
An angry Ibe got Garnett to drive him from their home in Spotsylvania to Wellington Lakes Drive, where he banged on Davis' door repeatedly but got no answer.
Ibe and Garnett had returned to their car when Davis drove up. Garnett said Davis confronted Ibe and swung at him with a gun before firing a shot into his chest. Ibe had an unloaded gun in a holster when police arrived, and Garnett said he never pulled it out during the confrontation.
Testing showed that Ibe had alcohol and a significant amount of cocaine in his system when he died. He also had cocaine on his person, police said.
Davis told his story Thursday on the witness stand. He said he was trying to help his girlfriend with her drug issues so she could better care for their infant son.
Davis said that when he told Ibe to stop contacting the woman, Ibe told him to "mind your own business, she can do what she wants." He said Ibe then made a threat before the call ended.
Davis said he later borrowed a gun from someone he referred to as "B" before going out to get some formula for his baby. While he was out, his girlfriend called and told him that Ibe was banging on their door.
When he returned home, Davis claimed that Ibe came toward him with a gun in his hand. When he raised the gun, Davis said he fired the fatal shot.
"I was scared. I didn't want to die," Davis testified. "It was my life or his life."
Davis threw the gun in a trash can after the shooting because he was "scared and didn't know what to do." He said he didn't tell his story to the police because he didn't trust them.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404