NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — A Newport News jury is unable to agree to a verdict in a murder trial of a teenager accused of murdering a student outside of Menchville High School.
The jury was hung on deciding if Demari Batten was guilty of murder or manslaughter, but did convict him of carrying a loaded pistol with more than 20 rounds, possession of and discharging a firearm on the property of a public high school.
He was found not guilty of using a firearm in an attempt to commit second-degree murder.
Batten, then an 18-year-old student at Warwick High School, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and firearm on school property.
According to an affidavit written by the Newport News Police Department last year, Batten was detained after witnesses identified him as having a firearm during a fight.
He told officers he was "jumped" by a group of people he was feuding with, and fired the gun to get them to leave. He said he didn't know who he shot.
Justice's father, Mike Dunham, said the Woodside High School student-athlete was a hard worker, interested in going to college and pursuing real estate.
"Justice was my hero," Dunham said. "Justice was a vibrant young man. He was an energetic young man. He was kind. He was compassionate."
Dunham said his son was beloved by classmates, friends, and family.
"I'm going to miss him every day for the rest of my life," he said.
At a memorial the day after the shooting, Newport News Public Schools Superintendent Dr. George Parker said he had never seen an instance like this shooting in his career.
"It affects me personally to know that our students can't have a sense of normalcy, come to a game, enjoy the fellowship of other students," Parker said.
Batten testified in his own defense at his trial on Oct. 4. He'll be sentenced on the charges he was convicted of in January.