Boy, 13, convicted of Michigan murder
November 16, 1999
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
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.
No verdict yet for young murder defendant
Court TV Online - T R I A L S - Michigan v. Abraham
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