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Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Tyrone Lamar Members convicted of two homicides and an assault that prosecutors believe may have been a 10-week-long revenge spree by Members

17:59 |

Monroe County Court jurors have convicted Tyrone Lamar Members of two homicides and an assault that prosecutors believe may have been a 10-week-long revenge spree by Members against rival street gang members.Members, 19, was convicted of second-degree murder in the shooting of Rasean Roberts on May 11, 2007, and the shooting of Jamel Wigington on June 7, 2007, and second-degree assault in the wounding of Jason Cole on Aug. 22, 2007.Members also was convicted of second- and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon.Judge John J. Connell scheduled sentencing for Aug. 15. Members faces a prison term of up to 65 years to life, said Assistant District Attorney Jennifer A. Whitman.
Jurors delivered the verdict Friday night. But the verdict wasn't official until Monday because a juror became ill and was taken to a hospital after the verdict was reached but before it was announced.During a brief court proceeding Monday, the juror who became ill confirmed his verdict to Connell. The remaining 11 jurors also said the verdict was unanimous.Prosecutors alleged the shootings came after an altercation outside a girl's 16th birthday party on Salina Street in which Cole punched Members in the face, knocking him down, after Members bumped into him. Members got up firing a pistol and hit Roberts in the chest, the prosecution said. None of the combatants had been invited to the party.Wigington, 17, died a day after he was shot in the upper body while sitting in a car on Thurston Road. A witness said she saw Members carrying a shotgun at the time of the shooting.
Cole, 19, was shot in the arm outside his home on Post Avenue. He was initially uncooperative with police but testified that Members was his assailant.
Before Members' trial began, the prosecution told Connell that it hoped several witnesses would provide a potential motive: that Members is reputedly a member of Thurston Zoo, a southwest Rochester gang, and all three victims were members of Mafia Assassins.But the prosecution chose not to ask about alleged gang affiliation. Whitman said the issue could have become muddled because witnesses would have offered different interpretations of what constituted gang membership.
In her summation to jurors, Whitman said witnesses were obviously scared, with one looking warily at Members and asking Connell whether she had to identify Members as the shooter in one of the cases.
"If they (witnesses) were in here and pointed him out, they've got to worry," said Whitman, who noted that only three witnesses came forward of 75 people who were present when Roberts was slain. "That is the reality in the city of Rochester."
Members' lawyer, Jennifer Moll, said the lack of specificity by witnesses created insufficient proof of guilt. "We submit to you there's enough reasonable doubt that Tyrone didn't commit any of these crimes," she told jurors.

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