Woman accused of shooting 16-year-old during fight in front of Westside Wawa tells jury she was acting in self-defense

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A woman charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of a 16-year-old took the stand in her own defense Wednesday, telling the jury she was afraid and acted in self-defense.

After the state rested Wednesday, Cooper’s attorneys first moved for a direct acquittal, which was denied, and then called Shaetavia Cooper as their lone witness. The jury began its deliberations just before 4 p.m.

Just after 6:30 p.m., the jury sent a messaged to the judge saying not everyone was on the same page for a verdict. The judge said they should return to deliberations, and told them the court was ordering them food.

(Click below for court livestream. Note: this signal at times will be down during jury deliberations)

Video from the shooting in July 2020 shown in court Tuesday, revealed what happened outside the Wawa gas station on Wilson Boulevard near Lane Avenue South.

The video showed Cooper with a gun and 16-year-old Teneria McClendon falling to the ground.

In court on Tuesday, both the state and the defense said the video clearly shows what happened.

In the video, Cooper walks toward McClendon and the other girls she was with — then Cooper backs away, points the gun at McClendon and fires.

During her testimony Wednesday, Cooper told the jury she was afraid and acted in self-defense when McClendon and the other girls approached her in the parking lot.

Defense attorney: “Do you regret what happened?

Cooper: “Yes sir.”

Defense attorney: “Were you in fear for your life?”

Cooper: “Yes sir.”

The defense says her regret doesn’t make her actions illegal, while the state says her actions were not reasonable.

Prosecutor: “You don’t spit on someone before shooting them if you really think you’re in danger.”

The defense says McClendon was the aggressor in this case. Multiple witnesses testified that McClendon’s mother held McClendon back and that she spit at Cooper inside the Wawa.

The defense says it was six against two.

After she shot McClendon, Cooper said she tried to apologize and hug McClendon’s mother.

Prosecutor: “You tried to give her a hug after shooting her but you were afraid of her?”

Cooper: “Yes.”

None of the witnesses said McClendon threated Cooper.

Cooper says McClendon threated to spit on her – then she did – but doesn’t remember if it connected with her.

She also said she didn’t remember telling McClendon, “Hold on (explicit), I got something for you.”

The jury will consider if Cooper had ill will.

Defense attorney: “It was shown when she checked on Teneria McClendon, when she said ‘please don’t let this child die,’ does that sound like someone with evil intent? She called 911.”

The state says it believes Cooper was angry when she did it and says that Cooper spitting on McClendon before shooting and killing her shows her intent.

The state said Tuesday that the video shows Cooper took it too far. The defense said Cooper acted in self-defense and they asked the jury to pay close attention.

“I was standing there with my arms out saying these are teenagers, then she spit and she shot her like she was nothing,” Teneria McClendon’s mother, Sharonica Eady, said.

McClendon’s mother took several pauses on the stand on Tuesday.

The state said Cooper used unreasonable force in shooting McClendon.

McClendon was with her mother and five other teenage girls. Some of the girls took the stand Tuesday.

The state’s witnesses said they couldn’t recall what the argument was about.

The defense referred to prior testimony, saying McClendon’s cousin Nyindia Lane testified that McClendon said to her “you know they are laughing at us,” referring to Cooper. Lane said she didn’t remember McClendon saying that. The defense said McClendon’s mother testified that “that was the first time I have ever seen my child be that upset.”

The state called another friend of McClendon’s who said McClendon spit at Cooper, but it didn’t land on her.

The defense attorneys built some of their questions around McClendon being angry and her mother having to hold her back trying to diffuse the situation.

They said according to the video, instead of the group of girls leaving to go to their car on the right side of the store, they went to the left, following Cooper.

The state also called a witness who said he rendered aid to McClendon after she was shot.

He said Cooper looked like she was in shock and said, “I can’t believe I shot her.”

The defense filed a Stand Your Ground petition last year that was denied.

Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4JAX – All rights reserved.

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