Omaha man found guilty of one 2015 slaying, not guilty of another

Omaha man found guilty of one 2015 slaying, not guilty of another
Marcus Short

A jury has found an Omaha man guilty in one of two fatal shootings in August 2015 of which he was accused.

Marcus Short, 29, faces a life sentence and hundreds of years in prison on a first-degree murder charge and three weapons charges.

Short was found guilty in the slaying of Garion Johnson, 19, but was found not guilty in the slaying of DePrecia Neelon, 23.

Neelon was fatally shot on Aug. 6, 2015, after a fire was started at the back door of her home near 20th and Pinkney Streets. When Neelon went out to pull her 4-year-old daughter away from the door and douse the flames, she was shot seven times.

Authorities said they found a merchandise tag with Short’s fingerprint on it in an alleyway near Neelon’s home. A witness described a person who looked like Short at the scene.

Johnson was killed two days later outside his girlfriend’s house on Fontenelle Boulevard, northeast of 42nd and Fort Streets.

Officers searched Short’s home hours after Johnson’s slaying. They had received tips, including witness statements, that a white Monte Carlo was seen leaving the scene. They found a .45 Glock, a .357 Smith & Wesson and other evidence, including two black hoodies and muddy shoes.

Prosecutors said the Glock was used in the Neelon homicide and the Smith & Wesson was used during the Johnson killing.

The trial lasted a month while jurors were presented with more than 1,000 pieces of evidence and heard from roughly 75 witnesses.

Jurors deliberated about 19 hours over three days.

It was the second attempt at the trial. The first one in May ended in a mistrial because of a scheme to bribe a juror through a Facebook friend request.

The friend request was from a page that purported to belong to Short or his supporters. The 19-year-old juror saw Short’s photo on the page. He reported the strange request to jurors and court staff, which launched a police investigation and a mistrial before the trial really started.

Short and two others are awaiting trial on jury- and evidence-tampering charges, though Judge Horacio Wheelock decided that the jurors in the second murder trial wouldn’t hear of the jury-bribery allegations. 

Authorities said two others also had a hand in the homicides.

Preston Pope, 28, was sentenced in November to two life sentences for his role in the fatal shootings. Shadow Harlan, 18, faces a first-degree murder charge and a firearm charge in connection with Neelon’s death.