Murder trial of former UberEATS driver begins
FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - Was it self-defense or not? That's the question surrounding the shooting death of a customer, at the hands of a former UberEATS driver.
Robert Bivenes is on trial for murder but he claimed he pulled the trigger to protect himself. But Wednesday in court, a police officer testified before Judge Jerry Baxter and the jury that the customer was not armed.
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According to the Atlanta Police Department, Ryan Thornton ordered delivery from UberEATS Feb. 17 around and went outside The Concorde to pick up his food at around 11:30 p.m.
“They had the bag of food there, so they had the order number, who was assigned this order for delivery,” said prosecutor Brett Pinion.
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Prosecutors said there was no trace of the shooter on the scene, but within minutes, police found their murder suspect, UberEATS driver Robert Bivines. Surveillance video captured the deadly shooting of Thornton. The two were having words about the driver not delivering food to the door. Prosecutors believe the surveillance video shows Bivines was the aggressor.
“The evidence will show he goes like that, be use the defendant has picked up a gun and points it at him,” said Pinion.
Investigators said Bivines shot 30-year-old Thornton, who was not armed, four times.
Defense Attorney Jackie Patterson told jurors Bivines is a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder who fought in Iraq and fired in self-defense.
“All of a sudden he hears somebody say I am going to f--- you up,” Patterson said. “Mr. Bivines thinking that Thornton had a gun.”
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Thornton's fiancé was in the Buckhead condo and heard the shots. The video shows her run down in disbelief.
“Maybe what felt like 30 or 45 seconds after Ryan had left, I heard gunshots,” said Jerica Jones, the victim's fiancé.
Pinion: “Did you hear any other noises?”
Jones: “I heard a car pull off.”
Bivines is charged with the felony murder. The trial continues Thursday.
Thornton was a graduate of Frederick Douglass High School and Morehouse College in Atlanta.
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