The uncle of a Chicago teenager who fatally shot another teen girl over a Facebook dispute in April 2014 was found guilty of murder for supplying his niece with the firearm.
A jury deliberated for just over two hours Saturday, finding 27-year-old Donnell Flora guilty of first-degree murder, attempted murder, and aggravated battery in the death of Endia Martin, The Chicago Tribune reports.
Endia was only 14 years old.
During the trial, the defense argued that Flora — who is wheelchair-bound after a 2010 shooting left him paralyzed — did supply the .38-caliber revolver, but did not intend for it to be used. From the Tribune:
In arguing that Flora should be found not guilty, defense attorney Joel Brodsky brought up the role of self-defense in the case, claiming Flora’s only intention in involving the gun in the confrontation was to protect his niece. Brodsky said the niece’s rival, Lanekia Reynolds, who was also Endia’s best friend and a witness to the killing who testified during the trial, had posted Facebook threats to Flora’s niece.
“These were not mere threats,” Brodsky said. “They were ‘I’m going to kill you. I’m going to out you in the ground next to your dad.'”
Flora’s “only intent was to protect his niece,” Brodsky said. “It was not the brightest idea he ever had. But it doesn’t change the fact that that was his intent.”
Prosecutors, however, argued that Flora’s decision to bring the weapon to the scene resulted in Endia’s death.
“Life is precious. No one knows that more than the family of Endia Martin. No one knows that more than the defendant,” said Assistant State’s Attorney Barbara Bailey.
“He became her provider — the provider of a handgun,” Bailey said. “When there were about 1,000 other options that could’ve been taken by an adult, he chose to continue the cycle.”
Prosecutors dismantled Flora’s self-defense argument, saying that even though Endia’s friend, Lanekia Reynolds, brought a chain with a lock to the confrontation, it was no match for a gun.
“This, versus this?” Assistant State’s Attorney Athena Farmakis asked the jury, holding the lock in one hand and the revolver in the other. The lock couldn’t possibly cause as much bodily harm as the gun, she said.
The teen girl, who is not being named because she is a juvenile, has been charged as such. During the 2014 confrontation, the girl fatally shot Endia outside a home in the Back of the Yards neighborhood in Chicago.