McQueen found guilty in Jackpot Mini Mart murder
A jury found Brian McQueen guilty of first-degree felony murder and armed robbery Tuesday evening in relation to a shooting at the Jackpot Mini Mart in August 2009.
McQueen, 26, has been in prison for the last five years awaiting this trial, and he will now die in prison. Although he was not sentenced Tuesday — sentencing is expected to occur today — state law mandates that anyone convicted of first-degree murder must be given either the death penalty or life without parole.
The family of the murder victim, Amad Asmar, was present when the verdict was read; they remained calm throughout the process and were later led out of the courtroom without saying anything.
McQueen also reacted quietly after hearing the verdict; he looked down at the table briefly and then stared ahead for the remainder of the evening’s trial proceedings.
The jury took just over four hours to reach its unanimous verdict, although the end result wasn’t without controversy. Despite receiving written instructions and oral instructions, they disregarded those instructions and created an impossible situation by finding McQueen guilty of three assault charges of varying severity — based on the non-fatal shooting of Asmar’s brother, Ali Mustafa — when they were only supposed to find McQueen guilty of one or none of the charges.
But neither the defense nor the prosecution objected to letting the flawed decision stand, since the discrepancy wouldn’t actually affect the outcome of either the verdict or the sentencing.