By Will Richmond
Herald News Staff Reporter
Posted Oct 27, 2008 @ 05:29 PM
Last update Oct 27, 2008 @ 09:17 PM
New Bedford -
Jurors found Kyron Gorham guilty of first-degree murder Monday following the conclusion of a four-day trial.
Gorham, of Boston, had been accused of entering a Bennie Costa Plaza apartment in January 2007 and firing six shots from a .22-caliber rifle, striking 15-year-old Shakeem Davis. He eluded capture for nearly a month before being nabbed in Syracuse, N.Y.
Gorham was the first person charged with murder under Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter. He faced charges of murder and home invasion for shooting Davis after the city teen arrived at a party to pick up a girl who had been in an argument with other partygoers.
He was found guilty after about an hour of deliberations on both charges and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Gorham's trial concluded Monday with testimony from Medical Examiner Alexander Chirkov, who testified to that six bullet wounds were found in Davis' body, explaining the teenager's death was due to "multiple gunshot wounds to the torso and extremities."
Following Chirkov's testimony, both Assistant District Attorney Raymond Veary and Gorham's attorney John A. Amabile rested their cases. Amabile presented no witnesses.
Amabile followed with a closing argument that noted Gorham admitted to killing to Davis.
"My client did not commit murder because he did not intend to kill Shakeem Davis," Amabile said. "He did kill him, he admits to that, but he did not intend to."
Amabile went on to criticize an eyewitness to the shooting, Kayla Joseph, saying her trial testimony differed from what she told police and a grand jury in the months immediately following the shooting. He also questioned Joseph's testimony by saying she receives money from the state through a witness protection program.
"Everything about her testimony became much stronger against Kyron Gorham," Amabile said, as his client sat silently behind, dressed in a vertically striped blue shirt and black pants.
The changing story, Amabile argued, should instead direct jurors to believe Gorham's account as he spoke with Syracuse police, telling them that Davis had grabbed the barrel of the gun as it was pointed at him in advance of the shooting. He said the actions happened so fast the situation became difficult to control.
"He didn't have murderous intent. He didn't plan it out," Amabile said.
He argued that Gorham was relieved to be caught by police and fully cooperated with their questions.
"This isn't a killer. ... This is a completely innocent teenager," Amabile concluded. "He didn't intend to do anything but scare this kid."
In his closing, Veary addressed Amabile's contention of Joseph's account by saying that while she changed her recollection of facts, such as how many bullets were fired that night, it could be expected considering she watched Davis get gunned down right in front of her.
Veary also questioned if Gorham had told Syracuse police the truth, citing the signed statement that quotes Gorham as saying he will only talk about his involvement.
He argued Gorham did plan the shooting, saying a second man, Jason Bates, initially cased out the Bennie Costa Plaza apartment, confirming that Davis was present and providing Gorham with access to a back door. He added that Gorham had to load the weapon and properly prepare the weapon in order to fire the first bullet, debunking his statement to police that Davis had just grabbed the barrel and the gun started going off.
"The way he tells it, it's Shakeem's fault or the gun's fault," Veary said. "He not only pulled the trigger six times, he emptied everything he had into Shakeem Davis."
Veary noted that two of the bullets ended up in Davis' back.
"What you have here is an execution," Veary said.