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Jury reaches verdict in Snapchat murder trial
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Talon Lowery stands in Hall County Superior Court Wednesday, February 1, 2023, during closing arguments of his murder trial. - photo by Scott Rogers

Previous story: After roughly four hours of deliberation Wednesday, Feb. 1, the jury found 24-year-old Talon Lowery guilty for the 2017 shooting of Bryan Ramirez.

Ramirez, 18, was outside Nov. 2, 2017, of the Cleveland Highway Texaco taking a break from work when he was shot with a rifle. A video of the shooting was uploaded to Snapchat, leading law enforcement to Lowery.

Lowery was found guilty of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. 

Sentencing will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 2.

Over five days of evidence, the jury heard from law enforcement, psychiatrists, on-scene witnesses and family members about the shooting outside the North Hall convenience store. 

The trial brought into frame other videos made by Lowery, including punching a woman in the Shallowford Road Walmart and shooting a cow. 

Assistant District Attorney Harold Buckler painted the picture of Lowery as a 19-year-old loner trying to find some self worth through these shocking videos.

“What does he decide to do? What do a lot of people decide to do? He decides he’s going to be, in the words of a very popular TV show, a jackass,” Buckler said. “Film it and put it online for all his friends — for the adoration of all the people that he hangs out with — just to show that he’s still cool, still relevant. If he can’t be famous, he’ll be infamous, right?”

Buckler said Lowery treated Ramirez as nothing more than “a chance to get attention.”

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Hall County assistant district attorney Harold Buckler gives a closing argument in Hall County Superior Court Wednesday, February 1, 2023, during the Talon Lowery murder trial. - photo by Scott Rogers

The prosecutor replayed Lowery’s initial conversations with law enforcement. When asked by the investigator if he knows why he’s being interviewed, Lowery appears to say — though somewhat difficult to hear — “I don’t think I should have done it.”

In his closing statement, defense attorney Robert Rubin responded to this point by saying Lowery’s response is unintelligible and that the testifying witnesses didn’t mention this statement.

The trial hinged on whether Lowery understood the difference between right and wrong at the time of the 2017 shooting.

Lowery pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, a potential verdict the jury considered along with “guilty but mentally ill.” Lowery was diagnosed with schizophrenia, experiencing delusions related to being a rapper and receiving messages from the rap industry.

“The plan was he was going to shoot someone,” Rubin said. “That is the plan because that was the key to the kingdom. That was how he was going to become a famous rap artist. That was his performance. Not for his friends — his goofball, teenage friends — but for Famous Dex, Lil Wayne.”

The defense said one of the messages Lowery believed he received was about the color red, and Ramirez was wearing a red shirt at the time he was shot.

“I am so sorry for Bryan, who just happened to be wearing that red shirt,” Rubin said. “It is senseless. It is random. It is a tragedy. It is mental illness. It makes no sense.” 

Rubin said the jurors were being asked to “get inside Talon Lowery’s head, to understand what he was thinking on Nov. 2, 2017.”

 “The experts disagree,” Rubin said. “… But not all of them were honestly and fairly seeking the truth.”

Rubin said two of the doctors “failed to even consider the witness closest to Talon Lowery,” which were Lowery’s family members.