CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Testimony continues Wednesday in the murder trial of Ryan Deleston, the 32-year-old man accused of shooting and killing 17-year-old Marley Lion in a West Ashley parking lot last summer.
One of Deleston's co-defendants testified Tuesday afternoon that Deleston indeed pulled the trigger. Julius Brown copped a plea of voluntary manslaughter, a lesser charge in exchange for his cooperation with prosecutors.
Prosecutors say it was Deleston who chose to rob Marley Lion after Lion interrupted him to rob Famous Joe's bar in a Savannah Highway shopping center in June of last year. Lion pulled into the parking lot to nap and was awakened by his car alarm when Deleston pulled on the door handle of Lion's SUV, according to prosecutors.
Police say Deleston shot Lion five times and later sold the gun back to undercover informants.
On the stand Tuesday morning, the victim's mother said when Lion failed to return home from a party, the family prayed for him at breakfast the next morning.
Co-defendant Bryan Rivers also got the same deal from prosecutors and will testify against Deleston. If convicted, Deleston faces life without parole. A fourth suspect, George Brown is charged with accessory after the fact. He also is expected to testify against Deleston.
Prosecutors say Deleston, Julius Brown and Bryan Rivers were looking to rob Famous Joe's but decided to rob Lion, who had just graduated from Academic Magnet High School, after they found him sleeping in his SUV in the parking lot. Testimony on Monday revealed Deleston fired six shots, five of which struck the teen. Another man, George Brown, is facing charges for allegedly providing the gun used by Deleston.
Lion's family and friends formed a prayer circle outside the courtroom before the trial got underway Tuesday. Several of Deleston's family members are also one of many packed into the courtroom.
During a pre-trial hearing Monday, a Charleston police detective testified about his interview with Deleston after his arrest. The defense argued the interview should not be included in the trial, as Deleston was not given his rights to an attorney during part of that interview, but the judge will allow it.
Deleston is charged with murder, attempted armed robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, and possession of a handgun with an obliterated serial number in connection. If convicted, he faces life without parole.
Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty.