On April 25, 2009, Joel Atkin was calling 911 to ask for help when he shot and killed Jayson Sack, who had aggressively approached him. Jayson was drunk, with a blood alcohol content of .14 and hydrocodone at recreational levels.
According to Joel, Jayson had a knife, but the jury did not hear that fact, after his attorney suggested that testifying to that might not help his case.
The 911 tape recording was twenty-five to forty seconds shorter than the actual call. This gap, according to Joel, omitted his claim that Jayson Sack was carrying a knife.
Joel’s lawyer failed to present medical evidence showing the injuries he sustained in the scuffle with Jayson, which showed that he suffered a nasal septum fracture and a possible petechial brain hemorrhage, from suffocation. This would have confirmed testimony from his witnesses that Jayson placed him in a headlock.
Thus in spite of acting in self-defense, Joel was convicted of third degree murder, aggravated assault, and recklessly endangering another person.