Atlanta Man Guilty In Spelman Student's Murder

ATLANTA — A jury found Devonni Benton guilty Saturday afternoon in the murder of 19-year-old Spelman College student Jasmine Lynn.

Benton was accused of fatally shooting Lynn as she walked with friends on a neighboring college campus.

Channel 2 Action News reporter Tony Thomas was in the courtroom as the verdict was read and said the jury found Benton guilty of felony murder, aggravated assault, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm during a felony.

Benton was sentenced to life plus 25 years in prison for the killing.

Police said Benton fired a pistol at least six times into a crowd outside a Clark Atlanta University dorm in the early morning hours of Sept. 3.

"Jasmine was out there trying to tell these people to stop," Fulton County assistant district attorney Eleanor Ross told the jury. "She said, 'No, stop. This is ridiculous."'

But Benton's lawyer, Jackie Patterson, said his client was involved in the fight but was not carrying a gun that night. Benton's lawyer said another man has since confessed to friends that he was the shooter.

Devonni M. Benton mug shot Devonni M. Benton Devonni M. Benton

"They got the wrong man," Patterson told the jury. "He didn't shoot anybody. And the real killer will come into court and say he didn't do it."

A Clark Atlanta student, Jarvis Jones, also was shot as he stood on the steps of his dorm, but he was not injured critically.

Lynn's mother, father and grandmother sat in the courtroom, crying as they listened to testimony about the chaotic scene after the shooting. Her parents, Constance Franklin and Clint Lynn of Kansas City, Mo., are suing Clark Atlanta University, claiming the university did take the necessary security measures on campus to protect their daughter from being shot.

Benton is not a student at any of the colleges in the historically black Atlanta University Center, which includes Spelman, Clark Atlanta and Morehouse University. Police said the some of the people in the fight that led to the shooting were visitors to campus, while others were students.

Students commonly cross among the three colleges to visit each other and can take courses on each other's campuses, but the Clark Atlanta campus is more open than Spelman or Morehouse, which are gated.