YOUNGSTOWN - A city teen was acquitted Thursday in the South Side murder of another teen a year ago.
Jurors in the courtroom of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Judge Maureen Sweeney found Shonqualin Hendrix, 16, not guilty of the July 29 death of 17-year-old Braylen Collins at Evergreen Avenue and South Street.
Jurors received instructions about 11 a.m. after hearing closing arguments and took just a couple of hours to reach their decision.
Attorneys in closing arguments concentrated mostly on the sole eyewitness in the case.
As jurors looked at a photo of Collins' body in the morgue, assistant prosecutor Rob Andrews said that even though witness DeLord Green fired three guns himself that day, he had no reason to pin the blame on Hendrix.
Defense attorney Mark LaVelle countered that Andrews was short on facts so he used tricks like displaying the picture of a dead 17-year-old to play on the jury's emotions.
''(Andrews) deliberately left the photograph up for you to see so you'll be distracted,'' LaVelle said.
Hendrix was accused of killing Collins as Collins was walking with Green.
Andrews told jurors that Hendrix had stuck a gun in Green's face the night before and Green took the gun from him. Hendrix came for revenge the next day and shot Collins instead, according to Andrews.
Andrews said that Green fired two guns at Hendrix but they jammed, so he grabbed a loaded .12-gauge shotgun he kept hidden under his porch and fired several shots in the air to warn a crowd in the distance that may have been with Hendrix.
Andrews acknowledged that Green and his brother Wolfgang are not model citizens but both were truthful in their testimony that it was Hendrix that fired the shots. Andrews said Green did not tell police when he was interviewed that Hendrix fired the fatal shots because he wanted to take care of it himself.
''Delord Green was going to go out and find the defendant and kill him himself,'' Andrews said.
LaVelle said there was no evidence that anyone fired a gun that day except the Green brothers and that police found no other shell casings or other evidence from a shooting except from the weapons Delord Green was using. He said the prosecution had no witnesses or other evidence other than Green. They did not even have the bullet that killed Collins, LaVelle said.
''No matter how he (Andrews) dresses up a cow it's still a cow, and that cow is Delord Green,'' LaVelle said.
After the verdict, Hendrix's father, Ron Tellireed, expressed his relief.
"I'm just so happy and so relieved. There is just a lot of stress off of the family. I feel deeply saddened for their family and their loss. I'm just happy that this is over with," Tellireed told Tribune news partner WYTV 33.
Jurors were selected Monday and began hearing the case Tuesday.