Mother speaks out after Tallahassee man found not guilty in son's death

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By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News
November 17, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Michael Mason was found not guilty in the shooting death of David Queen Wednesday.

As soon as the verdict was read, Queen's mother, Tangela Sears, screamed in disbelief and pain. "He killed my baby! He killed my baby!" she yelled.

Sears had to be carried out of the courtroom by bailiffs.

Two days later, she returned to Plantations at Pine Lake Apartments in Tallahassee where the shooting happened in 2015.

She told WCTV, "Right here, in this spot, is where my son was shot."

She says Queen was checking his mail at his apartment complex when Mason said to Queen, "What are you looking at?"

Sears believes many pieces were left out of the trial.

"Michael Mason's mailbox may be on this side. David's mailbox is on this side. What side did he get shot on? That didn't come up."

Witnesses say Queen and Mason were arguing.

"He was shot on the side with his hands up. Hands were not in no pockets. Hands were not hidden. His hands were up. When the bullet came, he put it out because he saw the gun and was trying to go. Why did he shoot?"

The defense attorney, Nate Prince, says Queen grabbed Mason's arm and Mason felt threatened.

"The law is what is what it is for a reason. People don't have to let other people beat them to the point where they're going to experience great bodily harm. Mr. Mason had just gone through a serious shoulder surgery. Mr. Mason was going to suffer great bodily harm if he didn't defend himself. He couldn't physically defend himself because of his injuries," Prince said.

Sears says Queen's character should've been highlighted during the trial. "His daughter, his daughter's mother, he takes care of his family. His friends playing sports as they come up here from Miami engaging into sports. He grabs their hands as their little brother. He was a good kid."

Prince says he was not surprised by the verdict, but, he was surprised it took the jury two hours to deliberate.

Sears was not surprised by the two hours.

"Within two hours, it's as if my son should be laying on this hot ground dead," she said.

Both Sears and Prince agree that Queen's friend's testimony was damaging in the trial. They say he lied to the police, fled the scene, tried to avoid hearings and was uncooperative on the witness stand.

Despite the verdict, Sears is not giving up. She's requested a meeting with Attorney General Pam Bondi.


By: Fletcher Keel | WCTV Eyewitness News
November 15, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Michael Mason, the man accused of murdering a man in May of 2015, was found not guilty on Wednesday.


The jury deliberated for just under two and a half hours.

Mason had claimed he shot David Queen in self defense during an argument in the parking lot of the Plantations at Pine Lake apartments.


By: Julie Montanaro | WCTV Eyewitness News
November 15, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A jury started deliberating at about 5 p.m. in the murder trial of Michael Mason.

Mason is accused of shooting and killing David Queen during an argument in the parking lot of the Plantations at Pine Lake apartments in May 2015.

Mason claims it was self defense.


By: Julie Montanaro | WCTV Eyewitness News
November 14, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Michael Mason is now on trial for the 2015 murder of David Queen at an apartment complex in Tallahassee.

12:15 p.m.

A leasing agent at the Plantations at Pine Lake apartments testified that she was working the afternoon of May 20, 2015 when resident Michael Mason walked in and matter of factly asked to borrow the phone "because he just shot someone."

She said at first she didn't understand and "was in shock." The woman said she gave Mason the phone and followed him outside only to see another man lying in one of the parking spots. She says she didn't realize right away that it was fellow complex resident David Queen.

Another resident says she and her friend were lounging by the pool that afternoon when a man she now knows was David Queen came over and talked with her friend, saying hello and telling him "it was too hot out here." She said he did not appear to be angry.

She says moments after Queen left, she heard loud male voices but couldn't make out what they were saying. She said within seconds she heard gunshots and got up only to see Queen clutching his stomach, crossing the parking lot and then falling.

The woman says she called 911 but had to hand off the phone to her friend because she couldn't remember the complex address.

11:30 a.m.

Family members of David Queen left in tears and the witness on the stand put his head down as a 911 tape played aloud in court.

The man making the 911 call identified himself as Michael Mason and told the dispatcher he shot someone. He told her the man had tried to attack him and grab his keys.

You can hear Queens friend in the background refuting that saying "No" and then trying to comfort Queen telling him "You gonna be alright. Talk to me, man."

Mason told the dispatcher he needed an ambulance fast and you can hear a police officer arriving on scene.

11 a.m.

One of David Queen's friends from back home in Miami testified he was there when Queen was shot and killed.

The friend said he had followed Queen back to his apartment complex to play video games when Queen stopped near the laundry and exchanged words with a man parked there.

The friend testified that he walked over and tried to deescalate the situation. He said he and Queen got in their cars to drive away, when Queen stopped his car and walked toward the mailboxes and the man's car. He testified that he then heard two to three gunshots.

The friend testified that Queen tried to run but fell down.

He testified the two were about 6 feet apart when the man shot him. He said he saw no punches thrown or weapons before hearing the shots.

The friend testified that the shooter himself looked shocked, like he knew he'd made a mistake.

"I was shocked. I didn't think he had a gun," he said.

The friend says he initially drove away to flee the gunfire before circling back to check on Queen. He said he thought Queen was still alive. He said when he got back and saw Queen lying on the ground, the shooter was still there and had called the police himself.

When asked if Michael Mason - sitting in court - was the man who shot Queen, he said "I don't know who shot Dave."

On cross examination, the friend repeatedly answered "I do not recall." The defense asking him why he didn't initially give his name to police or a statement about what he saw.

Isn't it true you told law enforcement you didn't want to be a snitch? You didn't want to see anybody go to jail? The defense attorney asked.

"I'm not a snitch. He called police himself," the friend said. He claims he wanted to call Queen's mother first and tell her what happened before giving a statement to police.

9:50 a.m.

Michael Mason is now on trial for the 2015 murder of David Queen.

Queen was shot and killed in the parking lot of an apartment complex off Halstead Boulevard.

The first deputy on scene testified that when she pulled up Queen was lying face down in the parking lot and his shirt was soaked with blood.

Tallahassee Police Major Steve Outlaw testified he arrived on scene as deputies and officers tried to revive Queen.

Outlaw testified he saw a man standing nearby watching the lifesaving efforts and asked him what happened.

Outlaw says the man - later identified as Michael Mason - said "I shot him."

Outlaw says he put Mason in handcuffs and then asked where the gun was and Mason motioned to his pocket.

Outlaw testified he retrieved the gun from Mason's pocket and put it in his own.

Defense attorneys asked whether Mason was polite and cooperative at the scene and Outlaw said yes.

A juror wanted to know what Mason's demeanor was when he said "I shot him" and Outlaw responded "casual."


By: WCTV Eyewitness News
May 25, 2015

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- 28-year-old Michael Mason has been arrested and charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of David Queen.

On May 20th, police responded to the Plantations at Pine Lake Apartments in Tallahassee after receiving a 911 call from Mason. Mason told dispatchers he had just shot someone, stating "he was trying to attack me."

Queen was transported to the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital where he ultimately succumbed to his wounds.

After conducting witness interviews, authorities arrested Michael Mason and charged him with 2nd degree murder.

See attached document titled 'Mason Probable Cause' for further information.


By: Lanetra Bennett
May 21, 2015

Tallahassee, FL - The shooting victim has been identified as David Queen.

"I just can't believe that my 29-year-old, my only child, who's supposed to care for me as I get older, was taken away from me to senseless violence," says Queen's mother, Tangela Sears.

Queen was shot in the parking lot of Plantations at Pine Lake Apartments in Tallahassee around 3:00 Wednesday afternoon.

A friend with him told his mother that as they pulled into the apartment complex on Halstead Boulevard, he saw Queen make eye contact with a man that they didn't know. When Queen went to check the mailbox, the man confronted Queen by saying, "What's up?"

"My son confronted him back, what's up? The next thing you know, he heard five shots being fired," Sears says.

She says, "I can't explain, but, it's the worst pain that I have ever experienced in my life."

Family members told his five-year-old daughter Thursday. The child's mother, Britney Houston, says, "It was just like shear terror and fear just hit her body. She just basically slumped into my dad's arms. So, that was painful to watch."

His daughter's nickname for him was 'Superman.' "She said, 'my daddy is my superhero. He's always protecting me.' So, for her to not have him here anymore, it just hurts," says Houston.

The other man was detained and questioned, but, has not been charged. No further details have been released.


By: WCTV Eyewitness News
May 21, 2015

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Tallahassee police have identified the victim in a deadly shooting at a North Tallahassee Apartment Complex.

Police say when first responders arrived on scene at the apartment complex on Halstead Blvd. around 3 p.m. Wednesday they found David Queen suffering from a gunshot wound.

Queen was taken to a local hospital where he later died from his injuries.

Police say an altercation took place near the community's mailboxes in the parking between Queen and another male. At some point, Queen was shot and a witness called 911.

The subject was detained and questioned by police but has not been charged at this time.

TPD says the investigation is still open.

Investigators are asking any witnesses who may have left prior to being questioned by police, to please call (850) 891-4200 or Crime Stoppers at (850) 574-TIPS.


UPDATE: WCTV Eyewitness News
May 20, 2015 - 4:40 p.m.

TALLAHASSEE -- According to the Tallahassee Police Department, a man has been transported to a local hospital suffering from gunshot wounds. He has life threatening injuries.

A male suspect has been taken into custody. They have not released either person’s identity.

The shooting happened after an altercation near the mail boxes in the apartment complex.


By: WCTV Eyewitness News
May 20, 2015

TALLAHASSEE -- Multiple Leon County Sheriff's Office and Tallahassee Police Department units have responded to the Plantations at Pine Lake apartment complex off of Halstead Blvd. near Capital Circle NE and I-10.

An ambulance has left the scene.

We will bring you more information as it becomes available.


Michael Mason


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