A Floyd County jury convicted Frederick Driver on charges of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, aggravated battery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime this morning, according to Floyd County District Attorney Leigh Patterson.
Jurors found him not guilty of malice murder. Floyd County Superior Court Judge Tami Colston sentenced Driver to life plus five years in prison with the possibility of parole.
Jurors will continue their deliberations this morning over whether or not the killing of a South Rome man was justified.
Frederick Duane Driver declined to take the stand Tuesday as the last set of witnesses spoke on his behalf.
There isn’t any question whether or not Driver shot and killed Randy Diamond on the night of June 17, 2017, at Diamond's home at East Main Street.
The prosecution and defense presented essentially the same set of events leading up to the incident as well. Driver and Diamond were at Diamond’s home and at one point Diamond demanded $10 he claimed Driver owed him. When Driver refused, defense attorney Randall Schonder told the jury, saying he did not owe Diamond the money — the much larger Diamond punched him in the face and ordered him out of the house.
Driver left the party, but then came back with a pistol. Schonder argued Driver was then verbally accosted by Diamond and fired four shots at the home — two of which struck Diamond, killing him — because he was in fear for his life.
Schonder told jurors that Driver felt threatened and bullied by Diamond before shooting and killing him.
Assistant District Attorney Luke Martin argued Driver had left and come back to Diamond’s home several times after their initial altercation and at some point he had acquired a handgun.
“He was drunk, belligerent and shot Randy Diamond because he got embarrassed,” Martin told jurors, saying that Driver had several opportunities to walk away from the situation.
There was also the distance. Driver shot Diamond from over 40’ away, Martin said.
The defense argued if Driver felt Diamond was threatening his life, he wasn’t obligated to flee and was justified in defending himself.
The defense presented three additional character witnesses, all of which stated that they knew Driver to be a good person.
The prosecution established all three were not present the night of the shooting and had never been around Driver when he had been drinking a lot or partying with friends.
Both the defense and prosecution rested and presented their closing arguments shortly before 10 a.m. No verdict was reached Tuesday, and the jury will resume deliberations this morning.