OGDEN — A jury has acquitted an Ogden man accused of shooting a bystander after a bar fight in 2018. However, the jury did convict him of different, lesser charges.
Erin Tramale Gaston, 25, was found not guilty of five counts of felony discharge of a firearm, all first-degree felonies. Though he was acquitted of the more severe charges, Gaston was found guilty of single counts of obstructing justice, a second-degree felony, and riot, a third-degree felony.
The jury came to the verdict Tuesday evening, after three days of hearing testimony and evidence.
Last Thursday, the trial began with jury selection that lasted the bulk of the day. The next day, opening statements began, with both prosecutors and defense counsel outlining their cases.
Deputy Weber County Attorney Thomas Pedersen spelled out the prosecution’s case.
He said that shortly after midnight on Sept. 2, 2018, a fight broke out at the Kokomo Club, a bar on Historic 25th Street. Just out the back door, patrons were standing around when shots were fired. Pedersen alleged that Gaston walked up to a man and said a single word before opening fire.
Pedersen said the man shot later identified his shooter as Gaston. Court records show that man did testify during the trial. The same man told the court during a February preliminary hearing that Gaston was the man who shot him.
However, defense attorney Logan Bushell told the story of another eyewitness during his opening statement. That man told police that while standing in a group outside the Kokomo Club following the fight, a man pushed through a group of people and opened fire.
As the gunman took off, Bushell said the other man gave chase. The man would catch up to the gunman and was shot once in the leg.
That man would later be identified as 24-year-old Frenchman Davonti Dyer. Court records show Dyer was twice called to testify during the trial, but when called upon, he invoked his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination and declined to answer questions. According to the case docket, the court ordered Dyer to testify, but he refused to do so.
Shortly after the shooting, Dyer was charged and pleaded guilty in February to one count of felony discharge of a firearm with serious bodily injury, a first-degree felony, and one count of riot, a third-degree felony. He was sentenced in March to serve a term of five years to life in a Utah state prison.
Bushell added in his opening statement that ballistics testing on shell casings found next to the man shot five times and the man who was shot after chasing a shooter showed all bullets were fired by the same gun.
The Tuesday verdict indicates the jury sided with Bushell’s account of the night’s events, finding that Gaston was not a shooter. They did, however, find him guilty of being a part of the fight that preceded the shooting.
As of Wednesday, Gaston was still being held without bail at the Weber County Jail. Gaston’s sentencing hearing for the riot and obstruction of justice charges is scheduled to take place Jan. 8, 2020 in Ogden’s 2nd District Court.