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US

Boy, 13, convicted of Michigan murder

graphic

November 16, 1999
Web posted at: 11:48 a.m. EST (1648 GMT)

PONTIAC, Michigan (CNN) -- Nathaniel Abraham, one of the nation's youngest murder defendants, was found guilty Tuesday of second-degree murder. Nathaniel, now 13, was 11 when he was arrested in Pontiac, Michigan, where he was put on trial as an adult.

The jurors found him not guilty of the more serious charge of first-degree murder.

Michigan law allows prosecutors to charge children under 14 as adults for certain crimes.

Defense: It was an accident

  MESSAGE BOARD
Crime and Punishment
 
Nathaniel was charged with fatally shooting 18-year-old Ronnie Greene Jr. in the head October 29, 1997, while Greene stood at least 200 feet away outside a convenience store in Pontiac, a Detroit suburb.

Nathaniel admitted to police he fired the .22-caliber rifle but said he was aiming at trees. Defense lawyers, who called the shooting an accident, say the bullet that killed Greene ricocheted.

During the trial, Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Lisa Halushka urged jurors not to be swayed by the youngster's age. Nathaniel had practiced firing the rifle, bragged about wanting to shoot someone and had the capacity to form an intent to kill, she said.

Defense attorney Geoffrey Fieger chastised authorities for charging Nathaniel with murder as an adult, keeping the youth locked up for two years and for shackling his ankles.

Expert witnesses called by Fieger said Nathaniel had the mental capacity of a 6-year-old at the time of the killing and could not have formed the intent to kill necessary for a first-degree murder conviction.

The defense also said the boy had no motive for killing Green because he didn't know him.

Detroit Bureau Chief Ed Garsten contributed to this report.



RELATED STORIES:
No verdict yet for young murder defendant
November 15, 1999
Jurors to resume deliberating fate of 13-year-old murder defendant Monday
November 12, 1999
Prosecutor: Boy, 11, bragged he'd kill, then did
October 29, 1999
Should a 13-Year-Old Stand Trial for Murder?
October 20, 1999

RELATED SITES:
Court TV Online - T R I A L S - Michigan v. Abraham
Bureau of Justice Statistics Home page
  • Juvenile Felony Defendants in Criminal Courts
Map of Crime Scene
Kids and Guns
Kids - Firearm Safety
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