‘I Know What a Thug Black Guy Looks Like’: Jury Deliberates in Trial of White Man Who Killed Black Man Over $50: Update

Michael Young (St. Joseph County, Ind., Jail)
Michael Young (St. Joseph County, Ind., Jail)

Updated Friday, June 23, 2017, 10:57 a.m. EDT: After deliberating for four hours, a South Bend, Ind., jury found Michael Young guilty of murder on Thursday, ending his three-day trial for shooting 27-year-old Markest Flowers in downtown South Bend.


The South Bend Tribune reports that the jury could have considered a lesser charge of reckless homicide, but in closing arguments prosecutors pointed out that Young’s story changed three times—first that he never touched Flowers, then was attacked by Flowers after tapping him on the shoulder, then that he fell into Flowers and accidentally shot him in the head.

The 70-year-old Jeff Sessions Michael Young now faces a sentence of 45-65 years in prison.


An Indiana jury began deliberating Wednesday in the case of a white man who shot a black man after chasing him down to retrieve $50 that a woman willfully handed over.

A verdict is expected Thursday afternoon in the trial of Michael Young after the option of lesser charges was added to the murder charge of the 70-year-old, who pulled out a gun and killed unarmed Markest Flowers in the middle of a downtown street in South Bend, Ind. Testimony in the trial concluded Wednesday when Young took the stand and testified that he shot Flowers in self-defense, the South Bend Tribune reports.

On May 31, 2016, Young and his girlfriend were at Lasalle Kitchen & Tavern when his date went out to smoke. Young went outside to check on her, and she told Young that she had just given a black man in a red T-shirt her last $50 because he was very persistent.


“Flowers happened to be the first black man [Young] saw,” the prosecutor said, so Young confronted Flowers. Two witnesses testified that they saw Young grab Flowers, telling him “you’re not going anywhere,” and spin him around.

Then Young shot the 27-year-old Flowers in the head.

Reporters previously spoke with people from Young’s past who described a dark, troubled defendant. One woman who works at a store Young often frequented said last year that she had to leave her job after Young threatened her with a gun. Although the store banned guns, “He told the ladies working there that he didn’t care about our sign, and he showed them the weapon he was carrying, which was a handgun. He described me and he said, ‘If she was here, I was going to blow her head off,’” Grace Pickhardt said.


Others people who knew Young recounted that he often spoke about his time in Vietnam and his desire to kill. “He seemed like a person with a very short temper, so a person who shouldn’t have the access that he has to things. Because a person with his temper seems to react very quickly to small things,” said Chris Hall, who also works in the store.


Although Young’s defense could provide no witnesses to refute the eyewitness testimony, Young’s lawyers said that he acted in self-defense after Flowers threatened him. Testifying that Flowers was “gigantic” and threatening in his initial interview, Young described Flowers as “very thuggish,” adding, “I know what a thug black guy looks like.”

Doesn’t this sound familiar?

After testimony concluded, a charge of reckless homicide was added to the charge of murder. A murder conviction carries a sentence of 45-65 years, while reckless homicide ranges from one to six years. Officials expect a verdict by the end of the day.


Read more at the South Bend Tribune.

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