Defendant argues self-defense in Lynchburg second-degree murder trial

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Court is in recess until Wednesday morning in the jury trial of Tyler Dabney, who was 18-years-old when he allegedly shot and killed a 32-year-old Concord man in November 2018 in Lynchburg.

Both the prosecution and defense rested their cases Tuesday afternoon. The judge then dismissed the jury until the next morning.

A dispute between Dabney and Benjamin Lee Friar, the victim, led to the shooting, according to a transcript read aloud in Lynchburg Circuit Court.

Friar occasionally purchased marijuana from Dabney and was in contact with his sister, according to parts of the transcript read aloud in court.

Dabney’s sister, Aaliyah Dabney, took the stand and testified that two days prior to the shooting, Friar was in the apartment she shared with her brother Tyler. She said Friar was there to get something from her brother, and as he left, he grabbed Tyler’s extra cell phone and ran. Aaliyah said she chased him and got the phone back, saying, “I told him not to come back to my residence.

The defense argues that on Nov. 28, Friar arrived at the apartment where Dabney and his sister were residing, located on the 1500 block of Longview Road in Lynchburg.

“I politely asked him to leave,” said Aaliyah, “he said, ‘I’m not going anywhere, b-word.”

According to witnesses who took the stand, including the defendant, Tyler stepped in after hearing the expletive and asked Friar to leave. They got into a physical altercation before Tyler retrieved a gun. According to the defense, Friar still did not leave after seeing the gun or after Tyler fired a warning shot.

“Once I had seen how aggressive he was, I was scared,” said Tyler. “I was scared for [Aaliyah] mainly.”

Dabney was charged with use of a firearm during the commission of a felony and second-degree murder.

Multiple witnesses said Tyler Dabney and Friar fought face-to-face. The prosecution disputes this narrative, citing the medical examiner’s report that Friar’s fatal gunshot wound entered into his back, not his front.

WFXR’s Santiago Melli-Huber is following this case and will give us the latest information as the trial progresses.

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