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Farrow testifies to self-defense

Jun. 06, 2014 @ 05:18 PM

HUNTINGTON — Quazaa Farrow took to the witness stand in his own defense Friday afternoon as both sides rested in a trial linked to the July 5, 2012, killing of Mikeal Branch.

Farrow testified he spotted Branch holding a knife just before he tapped his friend’s shoulder urging him to calm.

Branch then shifted his frustration toward Farrow, leading the 22-year-old defendant to grab a nearby gun, close his eyes and fire at the ground in self-defense, Farrow testified Friday afternoon.

Witnesses say the single gunshot struck Branch’s abdomen leading to his death.

Both sides rested shortly before 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Cabell Circuit Judge Alfred Ferguson ordered jurors to return at 9:30 a.m. Monday for closing arguments.

A short time before Farrow testified, Ferguson denied a defense motion for direct acquittal. He found just enough evidence exists to allow the jury to consider the charge of first-degree murder.

“It’s not the strongest case in the world, I certainly agree with you on that,” Ferguson told Farrow’s defense moments after prosecutors rested their case Friday afternoon.

Ferguson's shared that opinion while jurors were away on break, but in dismissing them for the day told them it's obvious somebody is wrong in eluding to the conflicting testimony.

Defense attorney Greg Howard, in arguing for the direct acquittal, insisted the prosecution failed to prove premeditation and other aspects of first-degree murder.

Assistant prosecutor Kellie Neal rebutted that argument telling the judge Farrow was calm, cool and collected as he patted Branch on the shoulder urging him to leave. She said use of the firearm to kill Branch under those circumstances meets all the necessary elements of first-degree murder.

Farrow, 22, stands charged with murder in the July 5, 2012, shooting death of Mikeal Branch, 26. It happened outside the victim’s house in the 1200 block of 18th Street.

Both sides attorneys agreed Thursday the shooting followed a dispute over a dog, although Howard told jurors his client fired in self-defense.

Two eyewitnesses testified Farrow was not involved in the initial disagreement and rode away in a maroon sport-utility vehicle after the shooting.

The U.S. Marshal Service located Farrow nearly a month later residing with a relative in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Find more on the case by clicking the “related content” links above. Read a full report of Friday afternoon’s action in Saturday’s edition of The Herald-Dispatch.

Follow reporter Curtis Johnson at Facebook.com/curtisjohnsonHD and via Twitter @curtisjohnsonHD.