Jury renders verdict in road rage murder trial

August 1, 2008 3:13:09 PM PDT
A 19-year-old Philadelphia man has been convicted of fatally shooting a 14-year-old bicyclist during a road-rage incident last July. Late today Charles Meyers was convicted of 3rd degree murder in last summer's road rage shooting of 14 year old Tykeem Law.

The two had argued when motorist Meyers beeped at Law and his fellow bicycle riding friends to move over so he could pass them on Federal Street. Meyers used a tiny 22-caliber pistol to kill the boy..meyers claimed he fired in self-defense, but the key witnesses, some of them Meyers friends, said they never saw Law make any threatening moves.

The jury could have returned a 1st degree murder verdict, which would have meant life behind bars. But after 5 hours of deliberations today, they came back with a 3rd degree conviction leaving both sets of families angry.

Meyers family left court making vulgar gestures and even spitting at reporters.

The victim's family wanted a first degree murder conviction. Their conclusion is that race played a role in the lesser verdict. The jury included 9 whites and 3 blacks.

Law's mother, Shaute McDuffy, said afterward, "Why wouldn't he get 1st degree? He intended to kill tykeem. If it was the other way around, tykeem would of got 1st degree. We all know that."

Assistant District Attorney Gonen Haklay said of the 3rd degree verdict, "They concluded beyond a reasonable doubt. They could only agree he meant to injure, or casue serious bodily injury, and not that he intended to kill him with that one shot."

Meyers' attorney, Daniel Connor, said "This in my view was a compromise verdict. They had a choice, first, third or voluntary manslaughter. They came back with 3rd degree, probably because it was only one shot."

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