The Georgia Supreme Court this week upheld the 2006 murder conviction of a Winder man who fatally shot another man at a Winder Mexican restaurant, despite his claims it was self defense.
According to an opinion issued Oct. 3, Yonlenon DeLeon went into a restaurant on April 7, 2006, with a loaded gun and shot four times and killed Servando-Duron Nieto, an unarmed victim. Nieto died of wounds sustained from a bullet that pierced his lung and aorta. DeLeon fled the scene, threw away the gun and left the country. Another person was wounded in the shooting, but she survived her injuries.
DeLeon was arrested on July 22, 2006. A Barrow County grand jury indicted him on Aug. 8, 2006, after a two-day trial.
Court documents state that two witnesses for the defense testified that on the night of the shooting and prior to DeLeon’s arrival at the restaurant, Nieto was drinking and making threats to beat and kill him. DeLeon further testified that he shot at Nieto because he believed he had a knife.
Other evidence at the trial showed that a week prior to the shooting, the victim and DeLeon’s best friend had a physical altercation and DeLeon’s was helping his friend obtain revenge against Nieto. DeLeon confided to his employer and to his fiancee that he shot someone using his employer’s gun. The employer testified that DeLeon told him he had thrown the gun away.
DeLeon was indicted on charges of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated battery, tampering with evidence, and two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. The jury acquitted him of malice murder and one count of possession of a firearm during a crime. The trial court sentenced DeLeon on Nov. 8, 2006, to life for felony murder, 12 months concurrent for reckless conduct, and, to be served consecutively, ten years for aggravated battery, five years for possession of a firearm and a five-year probated sentenced for tampering with evidence.
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