'Santa Claus shooter' found not guilty for wounding 2 men, talks about ordeal
DETROIT (WJBK) - He was called the "Santa Claus shooter" after he was arrested for opening fire dressed as St. Nick.
Now he wants to go by a different nickname of "free man" after he was acquitted of all charges.
Marcus Weldon calls it an ordeal he says that has been both emotionally and financially draining. For the last year and half he could not help but fear the worst.
"I just look at it as a situation where another possibly African-American male could have been in jail," he said.
Weldon has been accused of shooting two men outside the Speedway on West Jefferson on Dec. 21, 2014.
From the beginning Weldon, his family and friends claimed he was innocent and that this was a case of self-defense.
And on Monday, a jury agreed.
"Very emotional situation, very emotional traumatic experience," Weldon said. "A year and a half of house arrest, my job held up. It's great to be exonerated."
Weldon and a co-worker had left a Christmas party at the MGM casino, hence the Santa outfit. They stopped at the Speedway to fix his friend's tire.
Then came the altercation, in which his co-worker felt threatened and he intervened to protect her.
Prosecutors charged Weldon with seven felonies including assault with attempt to murder, accusing the 26-year-old of getting into an argument with two men, shooting them and taking off.
Weldon's attorney argued that he pulled his legally concealed gun to protect his co-worker, shooting only when the two men reached for weapons of their own.
Surveillance video was entered into evidence, but Weldon claims a lot was withheld including the 911 tape, something this dedicated father with two jobs, faults the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office for.
He is grateful in the end the jury saw the truth that he is not a villain, rather a hero.
"We are dealing with a greedy justice system - everything based on prosecutions and convictions," Weldon said. "If they can get a conviction out of you, they will. They try everything they can.
"I don't hold any animosity towards anyone but I definitely think Detroit Police Department could have done a better job."
On Tuesday Weldon along with his pastor and family plan to hold a press conference. There they will release the surveillance video and 911 call, which he says will show everyone what really happened that night.
He says his job as an engineer at MGM is still waiting for him. He has a 7-year-old daughter who he loves very much and he and his family are considering a civil lawsuit because they have been through so much.