A Common Pleas jury deliberated for 3 1/2 hours yesterday without reaching a verdict in the murder trial of the alleged killer of a Fairmount teen.
Robert Pierson, 17, a senior at Franklin Learning Center, who was recognized as a star baseball pitcher for various teams, was shot about 8 p.m. March 23, 2006, at 27th and Parrish streets. He died about three weeks later after being taken off life support.
Prosecutor Carmen Lineberger told the jury in her closing argument yesterday that defendant Quinzell McCall, now 17, intended to kill Pierson and asked the panel to convict him of first-degree murder.
McCall was one of six North Philly teens who decided to cross Girard Avenue that night to go into the Art Museum neighborhood to beat and rob white people, according to testimony by the five other teens who were with him.
Those teens - George Graves, Dawud Thomas, Malik Loper, Demietrius Tadlock and Brian Cros-land - all testified as prosecution witnesses at the trial.
Defense attorney David Nenner called these witnesses "polluted or corrupt" sources in his closing argument yesterday. He pointed out that although his client is charged with murder, Graves got house arrest, then probation, for a gun charge, while charges were dropped against the four other boys in this case.
Nenner suggested to the jury, composed equally of whites and African-Americans, that Graves, now 17, was the one who actually fired the shot that killed Pierson.
Graves testified last week that he, McCall, and Thomas had gone to McCall's aunt's house in North Philly, where McCall picked up a gun and handed it to Graves. The three of them then met up with Loper, Tadlock and Crosland.
In Fairmount, the teens "exchanged words with some Caucasian males," then Crosland threw a bottle into the window of a home, Graves said.
Susan Noble testified last week that she alerted her son Matthew and his friends. Her son's group then chased the North Philly teens and numerous fights broke out.
During the fighting, Pierson hit Thomas in the head with a glass bottle. Because of this, McCall, who by this time had the gun, used it "in retaliation" and fired at Pierson three times, hitting him once in the trachea, Lineberger said.
Lineberger also reminded jurors that Graves last week had testified that after he heard three gunshots, McCall asked him, "Did I get him?"
Graves said he saw Pierson on the ground and replied, "Yeah."
Crosland also told police that he saw McCall "shooting at the white boys," Lineberger said.
Nenner, however, argued that Loper at one point had the gun, then gave it to Graves just before the shooting.
He pointed out that a woman who lived in a third-floor apartment on 27th Street, Amanda Miduski, had told police that the gunman was the taller of two boys she saw running. Graves, Nenner told the jury, is the tallest of the six boys at 5-feet-11.
During the trial before Judge Carolyn Engel Temin, Miduski identified McCall in court as the gunman.
The jury continues deliberating today. *