TAVARES — The man charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in the shooting death of a man in a Leesburg bar parking lot is not guilty, a jury decided Wednesday.
“I believe [it was] the significant lack of evidence and conflict in evidence,” said defense attorney Laura Hargrove.
Darius R. Alexander, 22, was suspected of being one of at least three gunmen who opened fire in the crowded parking lot of Jesse Black Saloon at closing time on Aug. 23, 2015. When the shooting stopped, Saderris Tarver, 22, was dead.
Antwain Hart, who also faced charges originally, testified that he was defending himself from the “Zellwood Boys” gang at the bar on U.S. 441 in Leesburg.
Jurors spent hours listening to Hart and others describe where cars were parked and where people were supposedly standing, and they watched security camera video from both in and outside of the bar.
Among the things Hargrove believes helped her case was that there were no shell casings near where Alexander was standing.
One startling fact that did stand out for sheriff’s investigators, was that Tarver was shot from behind with .45-caliber bullets. It was Tarver’s group that was using .45-caliber handguns, according to detectives. That means, he was shot twice by someone in his group, including his brother, Shelton Rucker. Hart was using a 9mm handgun.
Hart gave three accounts of where his gun was stashed, including one account in which he said he carried the concealed gun into the club.
Rucker faces third-degree murder charges, but his defense team has asked for a mental competency examination before he goes to trial.
The jury reached its decision in just 30 minutes.