Jury enters deliberation to decide guilt or innocence of man charged with murder in “love triangle”

GENEVA, Ala. (WDHN) – A jury entered deliberations Wednesday afternoon after a three-day murder trial in Geneva County.

The jury, comprised of eight men and four women, must now decide if Jason Kersey is guilty of the murder of Tony Dean, who was shot to death in the front yard of Kersey’s Samson home during a raging storm in early 2023.

Kersey could be found guilty of murder or manslaughter or could be found not guilty.

Authorities have called this case a “love triangle” since its inception in early 2023 as Dean went to Kersey’s home to see his estranged girlfriend, Penny Carnley, now Kersey, whom Jason Kersey was then seeing.

The state, represented by Amanda Smith and Emmett Massey, rested its case against Kersey on Tuesday after the jury saw dashcam footage of the incident from Dean’s.

Jurors also heard from a lead investigator, the nephew of Dean (who was there at the time of the shooting), and forensics experts. They also heard law enforcement interviews with Kersey, Carnley, and Dean’s nephew.

They are trying to prove that Kersey intentionally shot and killed Dean and that he even said this in several interviews and in the dashcam footage multiple times.

“You got to see it happen,” Smith said.

In closing statements on Wednesday, the state told the jury that if they rewatch the video, they will see Kersey approach Dean to shoot and kill him, and during this, there is no evidence that Dean pulled out a weapon at any time during the incident.

“The defense here is not self-defense. The defense here is that Mr. Dean was a crappy person, and he deserved to die,” Massey said.

The state also told the jury that they believed that Kersey was using Dean against himself as a reason to shoot and kill him, even though Dean was seen trying to leave the scene before the fatal shot rang out.

“Is it reasonable for you to intentionally take someone’s life, who is trying to leave,” Massey said.

Kersey’s attorney, David Harrison, presented their case to the jury on Wednesday morning.

They brought Penny Kersey to the stand, who told the jury about a previous run-in with Jason and Dean just days before the shooting.

This happened on January 8, 2023, when Dean was sleeping in a truck behind Penny’s home in Holmes County but was told to leave by Penny.

Penny told the jury that as he was headed out, they continued to argue, but then Dean grabbed a bat from his truck and charged Penny. He then got mad when he saw Jason, who had a gun by his side and decided to leave the scene.

In a phone call days later, Penny told Dean that she was leaving him for Kersey. Dean’s nephew said that Dean picked him up to drive out there on January 12, 2023, to get money owed to him.

During the phone call and dash cam footage, Dean sounded pissed at the situation and even threatened to beat up Kersey badly enough to where he would need a hospital.

At the home outside of Samson, an argument between the two men ensued, where Kersey fired once, not striking Dean. The defense has called this shot a “warning shot”. The second shot hit Dean on the left side of the neck and ended up being the fatal blow.

In closing arguments on Wednesday, Harrison told the jury this was about a three-second snippet of time.

They are trying to show that Kersey was just protecting himself and Penny.

“How close do you have to be to your house to protect yourself?” Harrison said.

Harrison also raises the issue of Dean being high on meth during the incident and that forensics even said that the meth can cause people to be delusional, angry, and belligerent. Penny Kersey, on the stand, said at the time of the shooting that they were all high.

The defense also brought up that Dean had multiple knives in his pants and aluminum bats in his truck.

“If they would have waited any longer, they would have come inside with 9 knives and 3 baseball bats,” Harrison says.

A jury took the case back to the deliberation room just after 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

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