By Steve Rogers/The Packet
A man who got into a scuffle with a grocery store employee is found not guilty of robbery and shoplifting.
And it may have been one of the shortest trials in recent memory in Lowndes County Circuit Court.
The seven-woman, five-man jury deliberated just over an hour Tuesday before finding 36-year-old Reginald Wilkins not guilty. And that time included asking Judge Jim Kitchens several questions.
The trial lasted less than a day from the time the jury showed up until the time they left the courthouse.
“The jury did a good job, it was a good jury. Mr. Wilkins obviously was ecstatic,” Wilkins’ attorney, Steve Wallace, said of the verdict. “They looked very closely at the evidence, weighed the facts as they were presented and made their decision. That’s what we ask of them.”
If convicted, Wilkins was facing 15 years in prison as a habitual offender because of prior drug-related convictions.
He was charged on Sept. 8, 2016, with robbery after employees at the Sunflower grocery store on Military Road in Columbus said they saw him on surveillance cameras put steaks in his pants. Employee Tim Oglesby confronted Wilkins as he came to the front of the store and two scuffled, resulting in a scratch on Oglesby’s face.
Video shown the jury was unclear and jurors asked the judge about it and pictures from the scene. They also asked whether a suspect had to actually get out of the store before it constituted shoplifting and what the store’s policy was concerning shoplifting.