Ware could face life even without murder conviction

The outcome of the trial in the case of a slain Atlanta boxer could be the same, whether the defendant is found guilty of murder or of armed robbery.

The jury's deliberations in the trial of DeMario Ware ended Wednesday evening with no verdict, andwill continue Thursday.

Midway through the second day of reviewing evidence Wednesday, jurors asked to watch Ware’s police interview a second time.

Ware, 22, is linked to the shooting death of Vernon Forrest, and is on trial for malice murder, two counts of felony murder, armed robbery and aggravated assault, among other charges.

He could find himself sentenced to life in prison whether the Fulton County jury now deliberating his case finds him guilty of the two counts of felony murder against him or not.

Ultimately, however, the choice for life without the chance of parole will be left to Fulton County Superior Court Judge Alford J. Dempsey.

According to Georgia statutes, armed robbery is considered a violent crime and a conviction carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years without parole or up to life imprisonment.

In a police interview, recorded and played for the jury during the trial, Ware admitted to pointing a loaded gun at Forrest on the night of July 25, 2009, and taking the boxer’s gold championship ring and diamond Rolex watch.

What followed the robbery, prosecutors argue, were events that led to Forrest’s  shooting in Atlanta’s Mechanicsville neighborhood.

Forrest produced his own handgun and chased Ware, shooting at him with the only bullet in the prizefighter’s weapon.

Ware ducked into a nearby apartment building and watched as Forrest ran past. As the boxer gave up the chase and returned to his car on Fulton Street, he encountered Charman Sinkfield, one of Ware’s codefendants.

Sinkfield allegedly shot Forrest twice in the back, then walked up to the fallen fighter and fired eight more shots before meeting a third codefendant, Jquante Crews, who was driving Ware’s car, to make an escape.

The trio later met up at Ware’s home where Crews allegedly took the ring and watch and Ware hid his car.

Neither Forrest’s ring, watch nor the Glock .40 handgun believed used in his murder have been recovered.

It’s unclear whether assistant district attorney Pete Johnson will request a life sentence, but he could follow guidelines from the case of Jordan Harris, a Dougherty County man sentenced earlier this month to two life prison terms for convictions in a pair of 2009 armed robberies committed on the same night.

Harris reportedly is also connected to a third armed robbery and is awaiting trial on murder charges.

Ware was on probation for a pair of felony theft by receiving charges, but saw one count against him in this trial – gun possession by a felon – removed as the felonies didn’t appear on his record at the time of the robbery, pending completion of probation.

Dempsey excused one juror from deliberations Wednesday because she had a previously scheduled flight out of state later in the day and did not wish to purchase new, more expensive plane tickets for herself and her husband.