A jury in Roanoke County declared a teenager accused of first-degree murder not guilty. The 17-year-old was charged with a fatal shooting in 2021 at a McDonald’s in Vinton.
The teen was only 15 when the shooting took place. He was tried as an adult at the age of 17. The defendant may be young, but the commonwealth’s attorney claims that does not make him naive.
Prosecutors claim that a drug transaction caused the incident. The youngster allegedly threatened to rob the store manager, who was also the teen’s drug supplier, then drove to McDonald’s to purchase an ounce of marijuana in the parking lot. 38-year-old Gary Mcmiller was then shot and killed.
However, the defense underlined that he felt there was little to no evidence to prove the teen’s purpose and urged the jury to consider the teen’s age at the time of the crime.
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The prosecution claimed sufficient circumstantial evidence to establish guilt based on the video evidence played during the trial, reports of Facebook chats, and Snapchat recordings depicting the adolescent holding a gun and discussing the drug trade.
At roughly 3:30 in the afternoon, the jury was excused from duty to begin deliberations. Sometime after 7 p.m., the judgment was made public.
The teenager was found not guilty of the following charges:
- First-degree murder
- Use of a firearm in the commission of a felony
He was found guilty of the following charges:
- Attempted robbery
At the defense attorney’s request regarding the guilty charge, the judge consented to provide the defendant with a pre-sentence report.
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