Jury selection done, pre-trial motions heard in Marley Lion trial

Published: Sep. 12, 2013 at 3:25 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 8, 2013 at 11:24 AM EDT
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Ryan Deleston on Monday.
Ryan Deleston on Monday.
Marley Lion was murdered on June 16, 2012. (Source: Marley Lion Music Festival website)
Marley Lion was murdered on June 16, 2012. (Source: Marley Lion Music Festival website)
Julius Brown, Ryan Deleston, Bryan Rivers and George Brown. (Source: CCDC)
Julius Brown, Ryan Deleston, Bryan Rivers and George Brown. (Source: CCDC)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Jury selection is over and pre-trial motions were heard Monday in the trial for the man accused of fatally shooting 17-year-old Marley Lion in a West Ashley parking lot last summer.

Ryan Deleston, 32, 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 with the July 16, 2012 shooting.

Investigators say Deleston, Julius Brown, and Bryan Rivers planned on robbing the Famous Joe's bar at 1662 Savannah Highway, but targeted Lion instead when they found him sleeping in his SUV in the parking lot.  Lion was recently graduated from Academic Magnet High School and was set to enroll at Clemson University in the fall.

While jury selection was underway, Deleston's defense team filed eight pre-trial motions.  One of those motions calls for the disclosure of criminal records for all of the prosecution's witnesses, as Brown and Rivers are expected to testify against Deleston.  Both Brown and Rivers took plea deals last month and pleaded guilty to reduced charges of voluntary manslaughter, attempted robbery and obstruction of justice in the incident.

Another motion filed by the defense asks the judge to forbid the prosecution from showing photos of Marley Lion's body to the jury.

The prosecution filed two motions; one to introduce Deleston's drug use during the time before and after the night of Lion's murder, and the other to bring up alleged statements by Deleston that he was in need of money and decided to rob Famous Joe's.

Jury selection was completed just before 1:45 p.m.  The judge heard the motions at 3 p.m. and ruled a videotaped interview with Deleston can be used by prosecutors.

Investigators revealed last year how they developed Deleston as a prime suspect.  Police said they used a confidential informant to purchase a handgun from Deleston on July 15, . Through ballistic tests, officials were able to confirm the pistol was the weapon used to kill Marley Lion.

A Charleston police detective testified on Monday about his interview with Deleston after his arrest. The defense claims Deleston was not given his rights to an attorney during part of that interview and that it should not be included in the trial.

Julius Brown pleaded guilty last month to lesser charges in exchange for his cooperation with authorities during the investigation.

A fourth suspect, George Brown, was charged as an accessory after the fact. Deleston has remained behind bars at the Charleston County Detention Center since his arrest.

Opening arguments are expected Tuesday morning with the trial expecting to last most of the week. If convicted, Deleston faces life without parole. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty.

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