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Studivant gets life in prison after guilty verdict in 2017 murder
Jury votes to convict on all counts in Gainesville shooting case
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Marquis Studivant is removed from Hall County Superior Court by Hall County Deputies Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, after an outburst in reaction to the guilty verdict. Studivant was given a life sentence by Judge Andrew Fuller for the murder in the April 4 shooting of Dennis Gayton, 47, on Carlton Street in Gainesville.

Marquis Studivant’s mother pleaded to see her son when he was taken away in handcuffs after the first two guilty counts against him were read Thursday, Aug. 16, in Hall County Superior Court.

Outbursts among Studivant’s family and supporters led Judge Andrew Fuller to request the jury step back momentarily into the deliberation room.

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Family members of Marquis Studivant are removed from Hall County Superior Court by Hall County Deputies Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, for their reaction to the guilty verdict. Studivant was given a life sentence by Judge Andrew Fuller for the murder in the April 4 shooting of Dennis Gayton, 47, on Carlton Street in Gainesville.

“He didn’t do it. My son didn’t do it,” Studivant’s mother said as she was assisted into the courthouse hallway.

The jury convicted Studivant on felony murder and all eight subsequent counts in the April 4, 2017, fatal shooting of Dennis Gayton on Carlton Street in Gainesville.

Fuller sentenced Studivant to life in prison with the possibility of parole on the felony murder charge.

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Marquis Studivant enters Hall County Superior Court Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, during the verdict reading of his murder trial. Studivant was given a life sentence by Judge Andrew Fuller for the murder in the April 4 shooting of Dennis Gayton, 47, on Carlton Street in Gainesville.

Following a brief break, Studivant returned to the courtroom. The Gayton family declined to speak at the sentencing.

Studivant addressed Fuller during sentencing, saying he did not understand why his co-defendant in the indictment, Tadrick Terrian Osborne, was given reduced charges in a plea.

“I didn’t shoot that man. I was at home with my kids. I did not kill that man. That had nothing to do with me,” Studivant said regarding Gayton.

Gainesville Police said Gayton was with his son when two male suspects attempted to rob Gayton.

Osborne received a 30-year sentence with the first 20 years to be served in confinement, according to court documents. The rest of his sentence may be served on probation.

Studivant said he felt witnesses lied on the stand and expressed concern about Tyler Gayton, the slaying victim’s son, having positively identified a different person as a man he had seen the night of the shooting.

The victim’s son, Tyler Gayton, testified Tuesday that his father drove to the Athens Street area looking to buy drugs. He also said a man pulled out a gun after demanding Dennis Gayton hand over his money.

“All I’m asking is for a little mercy, because if I’ve got to sit here and go down for a crime that I didn’t commit, I should at least get a little mercy,” Studivant said.

Fuller sentenced Studivant to life in prison with the possibility of parole on the felony murder charge. 

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Marquis Studivant sits in Hall County Superior Court next to counsel Lee Parks Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, during the sentencing phase of his murder trial. Studivant was given a life sentence by Judge Andrew Fuller for the murder in the April 4 shooting of Dennis Gayton, 47, on Carlton Street in Gainesville.
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