Two men were posted $25,000 bail on Wednesday in connection with a shooting in central Athens, which included a stipulation that the suspects must live outside Athens.
Western Circuit Superior Court Judge Patrick Haggard awarded the bonds to Zachary Thomas Baker, 25, and Mark Luke Jarrett, 24, both who were living on Cedar Shoals Drive when the shooting occurred shortly after 2 a.m. on July 22.
They are charged with five counts of aggravated assault against five Athenian men, all ranging in age from 21 to 22.
The shooting occurred in the South Jackson Street area, which intersects Broad Street but is on the University of Georgia campus. That resulted in allegations of having a gun on school grounds. According to a UGA police report, neither the suspects nor the men listed as victims were UGA students.
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What preceded the shooting?
The pre-shooting incident began at the Cloud bar on Clayton Street, where Jarrett’s lawyer, David Crowe, said Baker accidentally spilled a drink on a man. They didn’t know each other, Crowe said.
A 21-year-old man from Athens was injured in the foot during the shooting that took place after the dispute in the bar, according to police.
Crowe said a security camera outside Topper’s on North Jackson Street shows the defendant’s car, a Corvette, and gunfire from the driver’s side. Bakker drove the car.
Crowe said there was no indication his client aided or encouraged the shooting.
“He just happened to be there,” he said.
A case of self-defense?
Miya Griggs, the Atlanta attorney representing Baker, indicated to the court that this would be a case of self-defense.
Baker, who was injured in an explosion while serving with the military overseas, is a disabled veteran, according to Griggs. She said that if he was released on bail, he would live with his mother in Rome.
Baker’s father, Frank Baker, who lives in Florida but regularly visits his father in Flowery Branch, testified that his son would not pose a threat to anyone if he were released on bail.
“I give you my word,” he said.
According to their lawyers, neither Baker nor Jarrett have a criminal record.
Crowe said a .40-caliber handgun was used in the shooting. Two AK-47 rifles were found in the trunk of the Corvette, but Crowe said those weapons were legally owned and no charges had been filed.
Jarrett, who works for a tractor manufacturer in Jefferson and is in the National Guard, is expected to live in the Atlanta area where his parents live, his attorney said.
Western Circuit Assistant District Attorney Robert Wilson opposed the bond, arguing that the men posed a significant danger to the community.
This article originally appeared on Athens Banner-Herald: Judge gives bail for two men suspected of shooting in central Athens