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Decatur man acquitted of Lanier Islands shooting, but convicted on gun charge
Man shot in August 2015 at birthday party
Andrew Demetri Joyce

A jury returned a not guilty verdict for a Decatur man claiming self-defense in a shooting last year at a Lanier Islands lake house birthday party but found him guilty of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Andrew Demetri Joyce was acquitted of aggravated battery and aggravated assault in the shooting of Malik Davis of Union City on Aug. 16, 2015.

“They thought he was justified in shooting him but not justified in actually holding the gun,” said defense attorney David Hoffer following the reading of the verdict.

According to the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, friends from metro Atlanta rented a lake house for a birthday party. A witness sent a video of the incident, where an argument begins to escalate before two gunshots are heard.

Davis’ spleen was damaged, and the Union City man had severe scarring, according to authorities.

After hearing the charges from Superior Court Judge Bonnie Oliver, the jury huddled around a television in the courtroom to watch the video and resume deliberations.

The jury returned with the not guilty verdict less than two hours after Oliver’s instructions. The prosecution then introduced evidence on the possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, which was not discussed in the previous testimony heard Tuesday.

Joyce had a felony conviction in Lowndes County, according to court documents.

After a half hour of deliberating solely on the possession of a firearm by a convicted felon charge, the jury sent a note to Oliver requesting a definition of “possession of a firearm.”

Following the definition, the jury sent another note an hour later saying they were “at a 50/50 deadlock on our decision.”

AFter further deliberations, the jury returned with a guilty verdict at 8:45 p.m. The prosecution asked for a sentence of five years in prison, and Hoffer asked the judge to consider Joyce’s 12 months time served.

Oliver sentenced Joyce to five years, with two years to be served in confinement. The previous time served would be counted toward the sentence.