Jury: 'Snowball shooting' was manslaughter

October 6, 2009 12:53:51 PM PDT
A Philadelphia man is guilty of manslaughter - but not murder - for fatally shooting a teenager following a snowball fight. Twenty-five-year-old Jose Omar Mendez was convicted of voluntary manslaughter Tuesday in the Feb. 2008 death of 15-year-old Teven Rutledge.

Mendez testified he shot Rutledge in the head because Rutledge threatened him with a knife.

Prosecutors argued for first-degree murder on grounds Mendez left the scene and returned with a gun. Mendez said he came back because Rutledge had threatened him and fired in self-defense.

Defense attorney Lee Mandell says he is satisfied by the verdict. Assistant District Attorney Deborah Watson-Stokes says she respects the jury's decision.

Mendez faces 10 to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 21.


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