Murder trial due for more testimony

More witness testimony is scheduled today in what is expected to be a weeklong trial for a 28-year-old Columbia man accused of fatally shooting a 20-year-old man from Savage during an altercation last summer.

Michael Dean Jackson Jr. of the 8900 block of Skyrock Court is charged with first-degree murder, accused of shooting Anthony James Owen-Smith at least six times with a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun during an argument near Jackson's residence in the late evening of June 23. The shooting came after a fight that evening that involved dozens of young adults at Kings Contrivance Village Center, prosecutors said during opening statements this week in Howard County Circuit Court.


Patrick O'Guinn, Jackson's defense attorney, said his client was acting in "self-defense" when he shot Owen-Smith. O'Guinn said Jackson tried to back away when Owen-Smith confronted him on Early April Way, but when Owen-Smith charged at him, he retrieved a handgun from under his shirt and shot him.

O'Guinn said a group of young adults was looking to hurt his client and Jackson's teenage brother.


"Mike Jackson was being hunted," said O'Guinn during his opening statement. "... They formed this vigilante group."

O'Guinn labeled the incidents as gang-related, illustrated by a police officer's report that said the officer stopped youths near the village center that night with bandanas covering their faces.

"This is gang stuff happening right here in Howard County," O'Guinn said.

Jimmy Sarkoun Zoumaya, 19, who knows Jackson and Owen-Smith, testified yesterday that Jackson's involvement in the fight outside the McDonald's in the village center made Owen-Smith angry with him.

"The only thing I know is [Owen-Smith] was mad at Mike for picking on 16-year-olds," Zoumaya said. Zoumaya said he drove around with the group of people, including Owen-Smith, looking for Jackson.

Deputy State's Attorney F. Todd Taylor Jr., said Jackson was looking for trouble when he went back to his home and retrieved a handgun.

"He went to his house, pulled out the 9 mm semiautomatic handgun. ... It was loaded; he put it in his waist," Taylor said. "He went to look for the people he thought were looking for him. ... The person with that weapon is looking for trouble."

About 20 are expected to testify in the case, lawyers said. Attorneys say they anticipate the case will go to the jury as soon as Friday.