Jury acquits Columbus man of murder and other charges in marijuana deal-turned-shootout

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A Franklin County jury has acquitted a man of murder charges for fatally shooting another man during a 2022 marijuana deal-turned-shootout on the East Side.

Randy Cooper, 23, testified last week during his trial in Franklin County Common Pleas Court that he shot in self-defense after 41-year-old Dalin Green pointed a gun at him.

“I just panicked. I was scared. I just started shooting and running,” Cooper said Friday while testifying.

The jury returned its verdict Monday afternoon after less than two hours of deliberation, finding Cooper not guilty of all charges against him: aggravated murder, murder, aggravated robbery and felonious assault.

Cooper, a marijuana dealer, and Green, a marijuana supplier, had recently met, according to Franklin County prosecutors. They arranged to meet each other again for a sale on the afternoon of Feb. 25, 2022, according to text messages presented at trial, and Cooper agreed to pay Green $2,800 for a pound of marijuana.

Green, who lived on the city’s Northeast Side, drove to Cooper’s East Side apartment complex. He had a woman in the car with him. Cooper testified he got in Green’s car, Green handed him the marijuana and they discussed more details of the deal.

Green had brought closer to a half-pound of marijuana in mason jars and they agreed Cooper would pay him $1,400, according to Cooper’s testimony.

According to Cooper, he was getting his money out of his pocket when Green took out a gun. Cooper testified he ran from the car and Green aimed a gun at him.

“And then I just see a flash,” Cooper testified. “I thought I was shot, so I just started shooting and running.” 

The two men exchanged fire, authorities said.

Franklin County prosecutors disputed Cooper’s version of events at trial. The woman who was in the vehicle with Green testified that Cooper attempted to rob Green.

Columbus police found Green shot inside a car that crashed on the first block of Sweet Basil Drive.

Cooper spent about a year and eight months in jail awaiting trial.

“Both Randy and I are very happy with the outcome and appreciate all the time and attention the jury paid to the matter,” Cooper’s attorney, Nathan Akamine told The Dispatch. “We believe that justice was served.”