District Attorney Joel Smith announced today that Kobe Augustine, 19, from Gulfport, was convicted by a Harrison County jury this afternoon of second-degree murder for the killing of 16-year-old Nigel Poole, also of Gulfport. Augustine was 15 years old at the time of the shooting. The jury deliberated approximately 4 hours before returning their verdict.
The defendant’s conviction stemmed from a January 23, 2016, shooting that occurred just before 8 p.m. in a grass alleyway north of 19th Street, between 47th Avenue and 48th Avenue in Gulfport.
Testimony during the 3-day trial revealed that when law enforcement and emergency personnel arrived, they located the victim lying in the grass with two gunshot wounds to his face. The victim was rushed to Memorial Hospital at Gulfport and taken to USA Hospital in Mobile, Alabama, where he succumbed to his injuries the following day. Multiple witnesses, who were friends with both teens, identified the defendant as the shooter. The witnesses testified that shortly after the defendant walked away with the victim, they heard multiple gunshots. The defendant then came running back down the street claiming that a car was shooting at them. The defendant was later overheard telling someone that he had actually shot the victim. Police testified at trial they found the defendant hiding under his bed later that night.
According to testimony from the State Medical Examiner, the victim was shot twice in the left side of his face. “The bullets fractured his skull and caused tremendous damage to his brain. Both bullets exited the right side of his head, with one projectile being recovered from the victim’s clothing,” said ADA Jason Josef, who prosecuted the case with Matthew Burrell.
The defense submitted to the jury that the defendant was justified in shooting the victim, arguing that he shot the victim in self-defense because the victim was trying to recover a gun that belonged to him. The jury also heard from Gulfport Detective Sgt. Christopher Werner, who interviewed the defendant following his arrest. During the interview, the defendant gave multiple stories, first claiming that he wasn’t present for the shooting, then that he and the victim were shot at by individuals in a passing car, and finally claiming that the victim tried to rob him and/or assault him. At trial, the defendant testified and gave yet another version of the shooting.
Sentencing for the defendant is now scheduled September 16, 2019, before Circuit Judge Larry Bourgeois. Augustine faces a sentence of up to 40 years in prison for second degree murder.