Erie Man on Trial for Homicide Acquitted of All Charges in April 2016 Fatal Shooting
A verdict is reached after a four day trial with homicide defendant.
ERIE, Pa. - The Erie man on trial for a fatal shooting in April 2016 has been acquitted of all charges, including homicide.
The jury found Marquis Knight, 28, not guilty just after 1 p.m. Friday.
During the trial, Knight did not disputing the fact that he fired his gun at Allen Basham, 19.
Knight says he did so, because Basham was firing at him and he feared for his life.
On Wednesday, at his trial, Knight took the stand to testify and outline the moments that led up to the deadly shooting.
Knight was charged with killing Basham, during an exchange of gunfire outside of an apartment party in the 1100 block of West 26th Street.
While on the stand, Knight was questioned by his lawyer Eric Hackwelder.
On April 16, Knight said he parked his car outside of the party to pick a woman up around 3:00 a.m.
When she got into his car, Knight said Basham walked up to him as he was sitting in his car.
“As we looked at each other, he pulls his hand back and smiles” said Knight. “That’s when I recognized him.
Knight said Basham then opened fire.
“When he initially started shooting, I thought I was shot,” said Knight. “For a second, I just froze.”
Fearing for his life, Knight said he then grabbed his gun from under his seat, stuck his arm outside of the window and fired back.
Throughout the trial, Hackwelder has pointed out that Knight has a license to carry a firearm.
“I didn’t have a choice at all,” said Knight. “I just wanted to survive and get home.”
Basham was shot three times and died.
During testimony, Knight addressed prior altercations with Basham. Back in February of 2016, Knight said Basham and two other men jumped him outside of the Hammermill Center, following a high school basketball game.
Soon after, Knight said he bumped into Basham again at the Avalon Hotel.
“I told him there was no reason for us to be feuding,” said Knight. “I have too much to lose.”
Knight said Basham then pulled a knife on him and threatened to kill him.
On Wednesday, only the defense got to question Knight.
On Thursday morning, prosecutors had their chance to question him about the fatal shooting.
That's when Knight testified that there was "prior beef" between the two men, and that Basham at one point pulled a knife on him and threatened to kill him.
In closing arguments, Hackwelder described Knight as a college graduate with two jobs, and a member of the NRA with a license to carry.
Hackwelder said that this case is all guesswork on behalf of the police and Commonwealth.
Meanwhile, Erie County District Attorney Jack Daneri said that this case is based off of scientific evidence, which shows that Knight did not need to shoot Basham.
Daneri said that Knight chased after Basham and shot him as he was attempting to run away.
Basham was shot three times, and died from a gunshot wound to the back of his shoulder, which traveled through his lungs and chest.
Daneri also said another motive, was gang affiliation.
According to Daneri, the shootout was the result of turf war between an east side gang called Four Nation and a west side gang called Shid Nation.
Investigators say Basham was killed while wearing a Four Nation t-shirt.
During cross-examination, Daneri said that Knight was tied to Shid Nation and two other groups known as 1800 and D-Block.
Knight denied those allegations and said that Shid Nation was a football team, created to help end violence.
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