Published March 15, 2024

Guilty Verdict in Vegas Murder

Written by
Kim Fundingsland
| The Dakotan
Darrion Jackson (Photo: submitted)
Darrion Jackson (Photo: submitted)

Jury Convicts Darrian Jackson

MINOT -- The final day of the Darrion Jackson murder trial was riveting, from closing arguments through a brief deliberation by the 12-person jury.

Jackson, 33, Fargo, was charged with the murder of Timothy Smith, 38, Minot, at the Vegas Motel on January 30, 2023. The accused never denied he shot Smith, even taking the witness stand to tell the jury why his shooting of Smith was an act of self-defense.

In her closing argument to the jury, State’s Attorney Rozanna Larsen showed the court pictures of the victim lying on the floor of a Vegas Motel hallway, saying, “He was shot in the hallway” and that the act was “not reasonable.”

Larsen reminded the jury that Jackson responded to a knock on his motel room door with a handgun in his outstretched arm. A still photo from a video camera was offered as evidence, contradicting the defendant’s claim he was responding to the victim reaching into his waistband for a gun.

Defense Attorney Steven Mottinger, Casselton, said in closing that, “Because my client had that firearm does not mean he committed murder. He asserted his right to self-defense. All of us have that absolute right to defend ourselves from imminent harm. From my perspective, he was entirely justified in shooting Timothy Smith.”

In her final rebuttal, Larsen refuted Mottinger’s claim.

“It’s pretty easy to claim self-defense when the person is dead and can’t stand up for himself anymore,” stated Larsen.

She then showed security camera video of the fatal incident, which showed Jackson shooting while Smith was backing up. Smith fell face down on the floor. Jackson stood over Smith and fired four additional shots.

“He went over and finished the job,” said Larsen.

The jury retired for deliberation about 10:25 a.m. and returned their verdict at mid-afternoon. Jackson was found guilty on both a charge of Murder, a class AA felony, and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon, a class C felony.

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