Deep Ellum aggravated assault trial: Jury deliberating final verdict

A Dallas County jury is deliberating in the aggravated assault trial of Austin Shuffield.

Shuffield is accused of beating of L'Daijohnique Lee in Deep Ellum in March 2019.  He faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated assault serious bodily injury charges for the violence.

Cell phone video from the incident shows Shuffield knocking a phone out of Lee's hand, before she punches him. Shuffield responded by throwing five punches of his own.

Video also showed Shuffield pulled out a gun during the confrontation.

Prosecuting attorney Messina Madson says the video is the key to proving Shuffield's guilt.

"How he kept backing her up, how she was backing up fumbling with her phone trying to get it. You see her reactions, you see him bowed up, you see him getting in her space, you see him backing her up with that gun," she said during closing arguments.

Madson argued if the gun is not a deadly weapon, the Marine-trained man's hands were.

She says he was not the same person under police questioning, because he wanted to control the narrative.

"He is calm. He is polite he is a different person, and he's good at it, right? He's good at it, and she is a mess. She is a mess, her ears are ringing, she's bleeding, she's fallen out of her shirt, she doesn't know what happened to her. She is so shocked by this and she's lost it, and he's using it against her and the police get there and they treat her like the suspect.


Defense attorney Rebekah Perlstein said the state did not prove its case. No bodily injury and no deadly weapon was used during the physical encounter.

"It's not during the entire altercation. It's not during what you decide is the beginning or end. It is during the commission of what you determine is an assault." said Perlstein. 

Perlstein reminded jurors on scene officers watched the video, saw how Shuffield hit Lee, and did not think it was a violent felony.

"They knew exactly, as Ms. Madson said, the manner, the style, did they think it was an aggravated assault? Nope." she said.

Prosecutor Russell Wilson was animated in his closing to the jury.

"In various ways they want to marginalize L'Daijohnique Lee. It's really reinforcement of what he was, his attitude that night. I'm better than you," Wilson said.

Wilson told jurors when Shuffield knocked the phone out of Lee's hand then kicked it away, that was obstruction, preventing her from calling police or anyone, and he said Shuffield had not legal right to have that gun where he had it.

"You think you can get out in our streets, in our community and pull guns on women? No."

Shuffield opted not to take the stand in his own defense.