Man found guilty in Derrion Albert's murder
January 11, 2011 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Jurors found 20-year-old Silvonus Shannon guilty of first-degree murder in the 2009 beating death of Fenger High School honor student Derrion Albert.
A Cook County jury deliberated for three and a half hours before reaching their verdict Tuesday night.
Shannon will be sentenced on February 14. He is one of four people charged as an adult in the case. His family left the courthouse in tears, knowing that the 20-year-old faces the next 20 to 60 years in prison.
Members of Albert's family say they won't feel any sense of justice, however, until guilty verdicts are rendered for all of those who took part in the fight that ended the teenager's life.
"It's a relief. I need to say for my family, anybody who thinks this is about revenge, it has nothing to do with that. We sympathize with the gentlemen who have been charged. It's unfortunate that this thing happened," said Norman Golliday, Albert's grandfather.
Shannon took the stand Tuesday in his own defense. He denied he kicked or stomped on Albert's head. Jurors also watched a videotape of the beating, which gained international attention in 2009.
Shannon said he was sorry for what happened, but maintained he was not part of the mob and fought back when he was attacked by Albert and others. Addressing the judge as "sir" and the attorney as "ma 'am," Shannon said he was threatened by a group of students including Albert on the days before the attack in an ongoing feud between rival Fenger students. He said the day of Albert punched him in the jaw.
The video shows someone hit Albert with a board and Shannon is seen kicking Albert, who was on the ground, in the head. Shannon's lawyer argued that those were glancing blows. When asked if he landed on Albert's head that day, Albert said, "No, Ma'am... I don't think I would purposefully try to land on anyone's head."
Videotapes of the police interrogation of Shannon were played in court. In those, Shannon told police he kicked Albert three times and then began to cry after saying he was sorry. Shannon, who was watching the video, put his head on the desk.
Shannon is one of five people charged in the beating. His trial, which began Monday, has moved swiftly. A juvenile was convicted and is awaiting sentencing. The others are awaiting trial.
local, ben bradley
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