Re-Introducing Jessie Murray
Sometimes, life hits us hard. For some, it seems to hit even harder leaving us bewildered and emotionally scarred. There are things we experience that are out of our control, but which make us into the people we are to become; stronger and more organically relevant. Thanks to social media, I was recently able to reconnect with a fellow high school colleague and friend, practically 20 years later who is a prime example. Unbeknownst to me, Jessie Murray had a story that needed to be told about trial and triumph! And after learning more about the details of what he’d experienced nearly six years ago, I felt I was the right one to tell that story and reintroduce him in a manner that he very well deserved. Jessie never imagined that in 2014, he’d find himself fighting a stand-your-ground case in the State of GA.
It happened the evening of February 15, 2014 when Jessie and his wife met up at in Forest Park, Georgia at a local bar. Coincidentally, there ended up being a birthday party there that same night. One of the attendees at the party was a gentleman by the name of Nathaniel Adams, a former Forest Park Police Officer. Drunk and staggering, Adams practically falls when trying to hug the birthday girl. Murray extends his arm in an effort to help the man who not to mention, is about to fall over on his wife and that’s when things escalate… Enraged and intoxicated, Adams gathers three other friends in the bar who proceed to chase Jessie outdoors and brutalize him inhumanely. Tragically during the brawl, Jessie’s gun goes off and kills Nathaniel Adams on scene.
5 months later in jail, Murray is faced with charges of malice murder and aggravated assault. Denying his Stand-Your-Ground Defense, the judge originally said, “It does not appear to this court that the other men in the vicinity were acting in such a way that would cause the defendant to reasonably believe that deadly force was necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to himself or a third party.” Finally in 2017, due to the unwavering dedication of his attorney Mawuli Davis and other key legal advocates, Murray is acquitted, accepts a plea bargain of 5 years probation and the charges dropped. Nonetheless, the effect of this experience remains. Time is scattered and the fragments of his life recollected day by day. Yet, Jessie is hopeful and he is determined.
When asked if he has ever feared how people would perceive him as a result of the events that took place, Jessie replied, “Yes, initially I feared people’s perceptions of me. However, as time progressed, I learned that God will place the right people in my life who will see me for the man that I am.” In fact, as a journalist covering his story as well as someone who knew Jessie from back in the day, I felt that I was one of the ones who God wanted to reconnect with him on different terms — After the storm. Speaking with him, I can see the light shining in the darkness. Jessie is a man fueled with ambition which he uses to artistically express himself in music and other entrepreneurial avenues. I also ask him what he would say to someone in his shoes who could also stand a sweet re-introduction. He shares, “I would say that nothing is impossible! You just have to keep pushing and never give up on yourself or your dreams. Surround yourself with positive people that will pull you up on your low days.”
Be on the lookout for more on Jessie Murray and some very exciting upcoming projects!
^Creative Direction/ Photography by Dress Like A Gent —Styled by The Gentrobe.