On a key ring that he displays in his office, Philadelphia Housing Authority police officer Craig Kelley keeps a sample of the military-style rifle slug that nearly killed him last year.
It's a reminder of the power of the projectile that tore through his bulletproof vest and pierced the left side of his abdomen; the original remains lodged in his body.
Yesterday, a Common Pleas jury convicted Zahir Boddy-Johnson, 18, on all charges, including attempted murder, for shooting the officer inside the front security booth of the Queen Lane Apartments high-rise, on Queen Lane near Pulaski Street, in Germantown.
Boddy-Johnson displayed no reaction when the foreman announced the "guilty" verdicts on attempted murder, aggravated assault and carrying a firearm on a public street.
The jury had deliberated for about 13 hours over three days.
Afterward, Kelley, 50, told reporters he was "feeling relieved."
Referring to a March 2008 preliminary hearing when then-Municipal Judge Deborah Shelton Griffin dismissed the attempted-murder charge, Kelley said of the verdict: "This was a vindication."
Following that judge's decision, prosecutors had appealed the attempted-murder charge in Common Pleas Court, and a judge there reinstated the charge.
At trial, defense attorney Mike Parkinson conceded his client shot Kelley but argued he did not attempt to murder the officer.
The jury seemed to have struggled with that charge during its deliberations, having three times asked Judge Gwendolyn Bright to redefine it for them.
It was about 10 p.m. Feb. 17, 2008, when Boddy-Johnson, armed with an SKS assault rifle, knocked on the security-booth door at the high-rise, where his aunt lived. He said in a statement to police after his arrest that night that he wanted to rob the officer of his laptop and gun.
Boddy-Johnson, of Diamond Street near 25th, North Philadelphia, shot Kelley once after the officer opened the door. Evidence in the trial showed that after Kelley closed the door, Boddy-Johnson shot two more times at the booth's bullet-resistant glass window before fleeing.
Kelley, who considered the Queen Lane Apartments like his home, has not been able to return to street duty. Still suffering pain, particularly in his right shoulder, he is restricted to working in PHA's headquarters doing computer work.
"You don't bring that powerful of a weapon, you don't shoot at somebody three times, you don't reposition yourself to get off two more shots if you're not trying to kill someone," he told reporters. "I'm glad the jury saw it my way."
Assistant District Attorney Deborah Cooper Nixon said the maximum sentence the defendant could receive is 32 1/2 to 65 years. "Recognizing all that Officer Kelley has been through, I'm inclined to ask for the statutory maximum," she said. "The jury verdict suggests to me that the people recognize that this violence against police will not be tolerated anymore," she added.
Boddy-Johnson is to be sentenced July 29. *