Defendant at Beau Zabel Trial Acquitted of Murder
In a stunning decision today, a jury took just three hours to return a not guilty verdict for Marcellus Jones in the June 2008 killing of Beau Zabel.
Jones, a South Philadelphia native, is already serving a life sentence in the slaying of Tyrek Taylor, who prosecutors said was the getaway driver in the Zabel slaying. Zabel was 23.
Zabel, an aspiring teacher from Minnesota, was targeted in a robbery while walking back from his summer job at the 4th and South Starbucks. He was found dead at 8th and Ellsworth, just a block away from his new apartment. The robbers got away with an iPod.
On Monday, Jones interrupted the proceedings: “Hey, your honor. I’m innocent of this crime. I didn’t have nothing to do with it, and I can definitely prove it.” He later criticized his defense attorney, and interrupted the trial when Zabel’s mother was testifying. He shouted “Thank you!” when the verdict was read today, per the Inquirer.
The Zabel case attracted widespread attention. Prosecutors alleged Jones killed Taylor because he “wouldn’t stop talking” about the murder; he was killed in September of that year. No physical evidence linked Jones to the crime, but several witnesses testified that he admitted to killing Zabel and then Taylor.
Despite the acquittal, Jones will still spend the rest of his life in prison; he was sentenced to life without parole for the killing of Taylor.
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