Nathaniel Bing is acquitted of the murder of Michael Jones
MEDIA COURT – An Upper Darby man has been acquitted of first-degree murder and related charges in the March 2022 shooting death of 31-year-old Michael Jones.
Nathaniel A. was found. Bing, 35, of the 300 block of Christopher Place, pleaded not guilty to first- and third-degree murder, first-degree murder and possession of an instrument of crime after a jury trial before Common Pleas Court Judge Domenic Pileggi.
how did that happen
Bing is accused of fatally shooting Jones in his apartment at 318B Christopher Place in the early morning hours of March 11.
Bing never denied shooting Jones, whom he had been friends with for years, but told investigators the other man was drunk and attacked him inside the apartment.
Police were called just before 4 a.m. to a shooting and Upper Darby Police Officer Charles Peterson, who was nearby, was the first to respond.
Peterson told Assistant District Attorney Louis Regan that a red car driven by a woman was driving away when he arrived at the scene and ordered her to stop.
She told him she had just dropped her boyfriend off to collect his things from 318B, the site of the shooting that was broadcast over police radio. Peterson ordered her to stand and call for backup.
A neighbor came out and said they needed help upstairs. He asked the neighbor to open the door and walk away. Dispatch indicated the shooter was on the phone with 911 and was exiting the apartment.
Bing exited the building and was taken into custody, Peterson said. Officers then searched the apartment before calling paramedics to treat Jones. Police found a .380-caliber handgun on a table and a single lit cartridge at the end of the hall, Peterson said.
Jones died of a gunshot wound to the chest, according to Gary Collins, chief medical examiner in Wilmington, Delaware. Jones was taken to Wilmington Hospital after the shooting and died there.
There was slight stippling around the wound, Collins said, indicating the shooter was a few inches to 3 feet away when the shots were fired.
Bing told Upper Darby Detective Kevin Jumper in taped interviews conducted before the jury that he and Jones met while working together in 2007 and became friends. Jones needed a place to stay and Bing offered his daughter’s unused room.
At about 11pm the night before the shooting, Bing told Jumper he came home from work to find his lights on, a bottle of liquor, a woman’s hair and eyelashes in the bathroom, a bottle of lubricant, and what appeared to be semen stains on his couch.
Bing called Jones to see if he had a woman in the apartment while he was at work. They had previously discussed how Jones was disrespectful towards him and that the apartment was “not a hotel,” according to the text messages.
Bing also discussed the situation with Jones’ girlfriend, showing her the evidence on a video call. Jones was upset with Bing over this, and sent him a text message saying he wanted to “bother” him. Bing told Jones to go to sleep and wake up, then call him in the morning.
Bing also told his downstairs neighbor not to let Jones in and that he would change the locks the next day. He packed up Jones’ remaining items and placed them near the door for pickup that weekend. Peterson confirmed that these items were present when he arrived.
Jones said he went to bed about 3 a.m. but woke up to the sound of the door opening and the chair he had placed there moving, so he took his gun out of the dresser. When he saw that Jones was coming to the apartment, an argument ensued and Bing claimed he repeatedly asked Jones to take his belongings and leave.
Jones moved toward the door with his keys, but they put the keys back in his pocket, fastened his pants and advanced toward Bing, according to the defendant. Bing said he backed up into the narrow hallway, but Jones swung and made contact with his neck or shoulder area. At that point, Bing said he took a .380 out of his right pocket and fired one shot.
Jones stumbled back down the hall toward the front door and collapsed, Bing said. Bing then called 911 and told Jones: “Stay with me.”
Reagan said at the conclusion of his speech last week that for Bing to succeed in his self-defense case, he must fear for his life or fear serious physical injury.
But Regan said that if Bing had truly been afraid of Jones, he would have called the police after Jones threatened him or barricaded the door more effectively. He also noted that there was no blood anywhere in the apartment except near the front door, and assumed that Jones had not arrived at the apartment after that point before Bing opened fire.
Defense attorney Timothy Tarpey argued that Jones had a blood alcohol level of 0.18% that night and had already sent threatening messages to Bing. Tarpey noted that Bing knew that Jones had already been arrested for criminal trespassing and assault, so the idea of him coming in and assaulting him as well was not outside the realm of possibility.
Bing was under no obligation to speak to investigators twice that day, but he did so because he had nothing to hide about the incident, Tarpey said. He constantly said the same things, Tarpey noted: that Jones was drunk and screaming when he came to the apartment, that he came at Bing aggressively and hit him, and that he fired one shot in self-defense, but he immediately tried to help. Jones because he didn’t want him to die.
Bing has been held without bail since the day of Jones’ death.
He pleaded guilty in February to first-degree murder and possession of an instrument of crime, but withdrew his plea in April in favor of a trial, saying he was “innocent of all charges.”
The jury agreed.