Accused triggerman found guilty in murder of Marley Lion

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - A jury found the man on trial for shooting Marley Lion fives times guilty on all charges Friday.

Ryan Deleston was found guilty of murder, attempted armed robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime and possession of a handgun with an obliterated serial number.

He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Jury deliberations began Friday afternoon in the case of the man accused of shooting Marley Lion five times.

Before closing arguments began, jurors spent four hours Friday morning watching a recorded interview of the accused triggerman in the Marley Lion murder.

Deleston began the interrogation by denying any connection to the shooting. He eventually admitted he was there, but continued to deny he pulled the trigger. He was accused of killing Lion, 17, outside a West Ashley bar last year.

"I've done nothing," Deleston said, a remark that caused a ripple of smirks in the gallery.

"I didn't pull the trigger," he said another time, after the detective told him Lion said there were two people who attacked him.

In another segment of the video, Deleston pinned the actual murder on another man, but admitted he was at the West Ashley bar at the time of the murder.

"It's all evidence pointing at you," the detective told Deleston in the video, countering Deleston's shift of blame to someone else.

"I can't say I'm sorry for killing someone I didn't," Deleston replied.

The gallery responded to the statement on the video with gasps.

The detective told Deleston that Bryan Rivers, one of the codefendants who has already made plea deals with the solicitor's office, pointed the finger at him. But Deleston maintained his innocence, saying he watched the shooting from behind a fence at the edge of the bar's parking lot.

Deleston explained how Rivers shot Lion. He said the group stashed the gun under a friend's pool afterward.{}

The detective pointed to interviews of a large number of people who provided them information during the investigation, but Deleston said only he and four others know what happened outside Famous Joe's, the West Ashley bar.

"I didn't pull the trigger," he said.

Late in the interview, the detective thanked Deleston for talking him through the case, but said there was still a problem: George Brown's story didn't work with what Deleston had been saying.

Brown testified earlier in the week that when Deleston, Rivers and Julius Brown returned from their exploits, the other two men were angry with Deleston.

In a final attempt to get Deleston to admit to pulling the trigger, the detective offered several excuses, including saying he was drunk or he freaked out. The detective also made a plea for Lion's family and asked him to tell them he's sorry.

"I feel real bad," Deleston said. "I'm in a lose/lose situation."

The detective gave Deleston a piece of paper and asked him to write down what happened in a letter to Lion's parents. In it, Deleston said he was sorry their son was dead but still maintained he didn't do it.

The video ended. The video was around four hours, however, the time in the video indicated the interrogation lasted around 15 hours. After the video, the prosecution and defense both rested their case.

Deleston did not testify.

In closing arguments, Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said Deleston proved malice by shooting Lion five times. She also said the codefendants were aware a murder could happen when they decided to bring a loaded gun.

"It didn't have to happen that way. And how dare they claim they didn't know something like this could happen? There was one person who was innocent that night. He was Marley Lion. He didn't deserve that."

She appealed to the jury to think of Lion's family.

"For no reason that child was executed. He had everything to live for. There's no reason a mother had to listen on her dead child's 18th birthday that these thugs were lying through their teeth," Wilson said.

During closing arguments, public defender Ashley Pennington urged the jury to consider the lack of DNA evidence linking his client to the crime. He said there should be reasonable doubt.

"The question here only asks whether a murder indictment, whether idea hand of one and the hand of all, completely fits this came. If it does, he's guilty. If not, then the only true and just verdict is not guilty," Pennington said.