Defendant claims he’s not guilty in murder trial of Cleveland lottery winner

Defendant tells his side of the story, saying he’s not guilty

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The jury deliberations in the murder trial of Issac Carson, the man who was killed in Cleveland just one week after he won $50,000 in the lottery, have ended for the week and will continue Monday morning.

A man who was killed just one week after he won $50,000 in the lottery.

On Friday, defendant Michael Ward claimed he’s not guilty.

The prosecution said Ward picked Carson as his victim because Carson had just won $50,000 in the lottery.

On Friday, Ward defended himself by saying he was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time.

“Me and Issac formed a relationship from me buying marijuana from him,” said Ward.

The day of Carson’s death, Ward said he and two others drove to the Lady Luck Lounge to buy marijuana from Carson.

Shortly after they arrived, Carson pulled into the lot, and Ward told the jury he got into the front seat of Carson’s van.

Ward said things got out of hand after the transaction when another person he came with got into the back of the van.

“He gets in and he shuts the door, he’s pointing a gun and he tells Issac 'you know what time it is’ and then he throws some zip ties over the seat I just kind of throw them back like what the -- are you doing,” said Ward.

Ward said after that Carson and Ward tried to get the individual to put his gun down and the gun went off.

Shortly after Ward said he realized Carson had been shot, and the other individual had jumped out of the car, and Ward jumped out seconds later.

In the video, you can see the backseat individual then run back to the car.

That’s when Issac said the individual shot Carson a second time.

“I just basically told them, why didn’t y’all tell me that was what y’all was going to do I didn’t know what was going on,” said Ward.

The three then drove away, leaving Carson for dead.

“I was confused, I didn’t know why everything happened the way it happened and why so fast," said Ward "I just didn’t want to be in the middle of it I just didn’t want Issac to think I had anything to do with it I was scared.”

Closing statements by both sides have been made.

Now, it’s up to a jury.

Will they believe that Ward was the one in the front seat and wasn’t a part of the plan.

Or will they find him guilty of the felonies against him?

Stick with 19 News as we stand by waiting for the jury’s decision.

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