A Black man whose controversial case put Georgia’s Stand Your Ground law at the forefront of headlines was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
Two years after being arrested and charged in the murder of 17-year-old Haley Hutcheson, William Marcus “Marc” Wilson learned his fate Wednesday in a Bulloch County Superior courtroom in Statesboro, Georgia. While Wilson, who is biracial, was found guilty of manslaughter, he was also found not guilty on nine other charges including murder, reports the Statesboro Herald.
Wilson’s story made waves in 2020 after he used his legal handgun to fire at a pickup truck full of teenagers after some of the teens allegedly called him a racial slur and tried to run him and his white girlfriend off the road. One of those bullets fatally struck Hutcheson, who was in the backseat of the truck.
Wilson cited Georiga’s “Stand Your Ground” law – where a person is allowed to use deadly force when they believe their life is threatened, in the case and told officials that he feared for his life during the incident.
“Me and my girlfriend were very scared that night,” Wilson told a detective after the shooting. “A truck full of—all I saw were white males—white males driving their car at me and are flipping me off and yelling racial slurs.”
Lawyers and Wilson’s family argued that he should have never gone to trial because he only fired in self-defense and the case drew parallels to Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse who “feared for his life” and traveled across state lines before killing two people and critically injuring a third at a Black Lives Matter rally in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Rittenhouse was of course fully acquitted and people like Rev. James “Major” Woodall of the Southern Center for Human Rights are pointing out the racial disparities in Georgia’s criminal justice system.
“Young people like Wilson get dragged through the system with procedural delays and the broad realm of judicial and prosecutorial discretion standing in the way of just action,” Woodall wrote in an op-ed for our affiliate site NewsOne whose been following this case for years. “Reasonable fear of Blackness is accepted, but Black people’s genuine fear of severe bodily injury or death is often disregarded.”
Wilson will be sentenced on September 20. In Georgia, involuntary manslaughter can carry a sentence of 1 to 10 years.