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[UPDATE] Tallahassee Man on Trial for 2009 Shooting

[UPDATE] 1-14 6:39pm

A man who survived being gunned down in 2009, was able to give his testimony in trial on Thursday.

Friday, the verdict comes in for the man accused of pulling the trigger.

In 2009, authorities found Willie Ponder hiding in an attic.

The prosecution said Friday during Ponder's trial that it took police 15 minutes to talk him out of hiding because he was guilty of shooting a man.

The defense said Ponder was hiding because he didn't want to be arrested for something he didn't do.

The jury was convinced by the prosecution, coming back with a guilty verdict.

State Prosecutor Kathryn Ray said, "He knew he had almost killed this man. He knew he was guilty."

It took the jury about three and a half hours to agree with the prosecutor.

Willie Ponder is found guilty of attempted first degree murder for a November 17, 2009 shooting; which Ray says started with an argument on Cypress Lake Street in Tallahassee.

Ray says Jamil Gardner--then 20 years old--tried to run away after getting hit by the first shot.

"Falls to the ground; he's on his hands and knees. The defendant follows him over there. Mr. Gardner ends up on his back and the defendant with other people out there, stands over him and shoots him one two three times, into his body." Said, Ray.

Ponder's attorney told the jury Friday that Ponder didn't do it.

He said that a black cap that was determined to be worn by the shooter did not have Ponder's DNA on it.

The defense also pointed out discrepancies of whether the gun was a revolver or automatic.

The State said whatever type, the fact is that it was a real gun that shot Gardner four times.

Gardner's mother, Lauretta Jefferson, remembers when his girlfriend frantically gave her the news.

Jefferson said, "Once we got her to calm down and tell us what happened, it was basically not knowing whether or not he was okay. So, me and my husband trying to jump in clothes and get up to the hospital, not knowing what condition that he was in; just knowing that he was shot."

Ponder is slated to go on trial again in two weeks for armed burglary of a dwelling with a firearm and dealing with stolen property.

That is for another case that happened before this attempted murder case.

He has not been sentenced yet. Sentencing is expected for next month. An exact date has not yet been determined.

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[UPDATE] 1-14 2:45PM --

Willie Ponder guilty of 1st degree attempted murder.

Stay with WCTV for details.

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[UPDATE] 1-14 12:40pm

The fate of a Tallahassee man charged with attempted first degree murder is now in the hands of the jury.

Willie Ponder is on trial. He is charged with shooting a man four times back in 2009.

The victim--Jamil Gardner--survived the shooting, and took the stand during trial Thursday.

Friday, closing arguments got underway; and Willie Ponder's defense attorney says this is a classic case of mistaken identity.

The defense attorney says Willie Ponder was not the shooter in the 2009 incident..

But, in closing arguments, the prosecution gave an account of how Ponder got into an argument with Gardner, who was 20 years old at the time.

The prosecutor says Ponder shot Gardner, Gardner ran, then Ponder chased him down and shot him three more times.

The defense says there is no physical evidence to prove any of that; and points out that a black cap that the shooter allegedly wore on November 17, 2009 on Cypress Lake Street in Tallahassee, did not have Ponder's DNA on it.

The prosecution says just because Ponder's DNA wasn't on the hat doesn't mean he wasn't wearing it.

The case was turned over to the jury around 10:45 Friday morning.

Deliberations are not expected to take very long.

Eyewitness News plans to be in the courtroom when the verdict is read, and of course, have it here on wctv.tv.

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[UPDATE] 1-14 10:00AM --

The trial is underway for Willie Ponder, who is accused of shooting a man off Cypress Lake Street in 2009. The trial started this morning. The judge gave instructions to the jury around 9:40AM. Closing arguments are underway.

Victim 22-year-old Jamil Garden, then 20, took the stand yesterday.

We have a reporter in the courtroom. Stay with WCTV for complete coverage of the trial.

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TPD Press Release:

On Tuesday, November 17th 2009, the Tallahassee Police Department responded to a reported shooting in the 2700 Block of Cypress Lake Street.

Upon arrival, officers discovered that a 20-year-old man had been shot while visiting a friend.

According to the victim, a “drug dealer” approached him and told the victim and his friends to be quiet or the police would respond to the area, interfering with his drug transactions.

A short time later, the “drug dealer” brandished a handgun and shot the victim.

The suspect fled before officers arrived on scene.

During the investigation 22-year-old Willie Ponder was identified as the suspect who shot the victim.

A warrant for Attempted First Degree Murder was issued for Ponder’s arrest on November 23rd.

Ponder eluded capture until investigators from the U.S. Marshal’s Florida Regional Violent Fugitive Task Force arrested him early Sunday morning.

Ponder was found hiding in the attic of an apartment in the 1200 Block of Buckingham Court.

Ponder was taken into custody without incident.

We will have a picture available shortly.


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