A Banning man accused of shooting an unarmed nightclub patron during a scuffle before the defendant was shot and wounded by a police officer was acquitted today.
Demario Anton Jackson, 26, was charged with first-degree murder, along with sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations, in the July 16, 2011, slaying of 46-year-old Andy Albarran. The Riverside jury deliberated about two days before reaching a verdict, according to court records.
Jackson did not take the stand in his own defense because he could not recollect details of the night in question, his attorney, Susanne Cho, told City News Service.
"Things are pretty hard to remember when you've been shot twice," Cho said outside court.
The defense maintained that Jackson killed Albarran to protect himself. The prosecution argued it was a cold-blooded murder.
Beaumont police Officer Brent Conan testified earlier that he witnessed Jackson shoot Albarran at point-blank range, from less than five feet away.
Jackson and Albarran were among several hundred people who went to see a live show at Celebrities Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge in the 500 block of Beaumont Avenue on the night of the shooting.
Conan testified that he went to the location to nab drunken drivers leaving the club. The officer said he immediately became aware of a physical confrontation involving several men in the adjacent Wells Fargo bank parking lot.
"I heard what sounded like a high-pitched pop and thought it might be a firecracker or gunshot," the officer testified. "I couldn't tell where it came from. I drew my firearm and continued toward the crowd and saw an older Hispanic man and a younger black man fighting."
According to Conan, he witnessed Jackson fire a bullet into Albarran, striking the victim in the upper body.
"That's when I fired my gun at the shooter," Conan testified.
The officer said Jackson stumbled and collapsed onto the ground and Albarran, struck in a lung and shoulder, staggered backward, stepped off the curb and fell face-down onto the pavement. He was pronounced dead a short time later.
Jackson was shot in the leg and torso. He underwent surgery and made a full recovery.
According to testimony, both the defendant and the officer were armed with .45-caliber handguns.
Brandon said the reason for the altercation has never been determined.
According to Cho, Albarran, his teenage son and the youth's teenage cousin all attacked Jackson over a disagreement that erupted as they left the club.