NYC man guilty of murder in Allentown

October 2, 2009 6:20:30 AM PDT
A New York City man convicted of first-degree murder in a mistaken-identity slaying at an eastern Pennsylvania graduation party faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

Twenty-one-year-old Tahreel Maleek Townsend, of Brooklyn, testified in his own defense to deny being a gang member or ordering the murder of 22-year-old Jimmy Ortiz in Allentown on May 10, 2008.

Lehigh County prosecutors say Townsend ordered a gang retaliation hit, but the shooters mistook a graduation party for a gang party and gunned down Ortiz because of the color of his shirt. Townsend was convicted Thursday night.

The defense maintained that prosecution witnesses were trying to get better deals in their own cases.


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