Jurors to resume deliberating fate of 13-year-old murder defendant Monday
November 12, 1999
From staff and wire reports
PONTIAC, Michigan (CNN) -- Jurors deciding the fate of 13-year-old murder defendant Nathaniel Abraham adjourned after a second day of deliberations Friday.
For the families of the young suspect and his 18-year-old victim, it meant another weekend of waiting for the verdict. Deliberations were to resume Monday.
"Nathaniel Abraham was able to engage in organized planning and goal-oriented activity," Oakland County assistant prosecutor Lisa Halushka said in her closing argument. "We're left sitting with the realization that this 11-year-old could kill."
Halushka cited evidence that Abraham told the female friend ahead of time that he was planning to shoot someone, practiced his aim on stationary targets, shot Greene and bragged about it the next day.
"Do we ignore those facts and the law simply because of the age of the person who intentionally took that life?" Halushka asked the jury.
Jurors deliberated for 90 minutes on Wednesday and had Thursday off for Veterans Day.
Defense: Shooting was accidental
Abraham is believed to be among the youngest people in the United States to be charged with first-degree murder and tried as an adult. He could face life in prison if convicted.
Prosecutors contended he intentionally shot Greene outside a Pontiac, Michigan, convenience store on October 29, 1997.
The defense says it was an accident. Lawyers for Abraham say the bullet that killed Greene ricocheted while Abraham was shooting at trees.
In his closing argument, defense attorney Geoffrey Fieger accused the prosecution of twisting the evidence to justify an adult first-degree murder case. He called on jurors to stop what he called the continuing brutalization of Abraham.
"Do you understand they charged this child and for two years they brutalized him?" Fieger asked.
"It's quite clear it's a terrible accident, and then I said, `Oh, my God. Oh, my God. What have they done, what have they done,'" Fieger said, speaking in a near-whisper. "I assumed they would never try to falsely accuse a little boy of doing something."
Prosecutors not expected to seek maximum sentence
Fieger called five psychologists and psychiatrists to back up his argument that Abraham was incapable of planning a murder.
"In the world of psychiatry today, there is no doctor ... who could say that an 11-year-old, with a 6-year-old's mentality, could form criminal intent," Fieger said.
Besides first-degree murder, Abraham also is charged with assault with intent to commit murder and two felony firearms counts.
If convicted of first- or second-degree murder, he could be sentenced to life in prison. But prosecutors have said they won't seek the maximum punishment.
Detroit Bureau Chief Ed Garsten contributed to this report.
Prosecutor: Boy, 11, bragged he'd kill, then did
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