WATERLOO – Jurors acquitted a Waterloo teen in the final verdict to be handed down in connection with the 2016 shooting that claimed the life of Otavious Brown.
After a week of deliberations and the replacement of one panelist who left for vacation, the jury reached its verdict shortly after returning to the courtroom Tuesday, finding Armand Isavia Anthony Rollins Jr., 18, not guilty of all charges.
Defense attorney Melissa Anderson-Seeber, who represented Rollins, said she was pleased with the verdict.
“This is one of the most conscientious, hardest working jury panels I have ever had,” she said.
Tuesday’s verdict came after jurors Friday announced they found 17-year-old Doncorrion Deangelo Spates guilty of first-degree murder, attempted murder and intimidation with a weapon and acquitted Shavondes Martin, 22.
Prosecutors said the three were in an SUV and opened fire on a group of people outside 817 Logan Ave. on July 17, 2016, killing Brown, 21, and injuring Dewon Campbell Jr. and Aundrey Roberts Jr.
The driver, Jacques Williamson, 26, earlier pleaded guilty to reduced charges of intimidation with a weapon in the case as part of an agreement to testify. He faces up to 10 years in prison.
Brown’s stepfather, Raymond Birden Sr., followed the trial and was in the courtroom during the verdicts. He said he misses Otavious’ laughter and is disappointed in the outcome but harbors no ill feelings for the three who were charged.
“I know everyone thinks I’m supposed to be bitter and upset ... but we have to accept the outcome and pray for better days for everyone,” Birden said. “The two that got out, I wish them well and pray they become productive young men in society … that they find peace in their lives and find Jesus Christ.”
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He said his heart goes out to Spates’ mother.
Birden said he feels all who were charged should have received some punishment.
“There is nothing that can bring Otavious back, but we can lead better lives, treat people better, respect one another and learn how to love each other. I hope out of all of this — from the murder, the trial, the two men being acquitted — we learn that life has meaning,” he said.
Since losing his stepson, Birden has started working with Rev. Willie Campbell at Crystal Cathedral of Faith Southern Baptist Church on Hammond Avenue to provide a better path for area youths. They came up with a program called Boys to Men, which meets at noon every Saturday and is geared for ages 7 to 17 — the age range that included two of the people charged in the Logan Avenue shooting.
There is a meal and exercises and programs designed to teach young men to make good decisions.
Birden said Doncorrion Spates’ mother and stepfather met with him following Friday’s verdict, and they attended the Boys to Men program Saturday.
Martin was released from jail following his acquittal Friday. He is still awaiting the outcome of a 2015 felony drug case in which police found marijuana and a scale during a traffic stop. A hearing on the case is scheduled for later this month.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Rollins remained in jail awaiting trial for a July 2016 incident in which police found crack cocaine during a traffic stop, and a firearm charge where his fingerprint was found on a shorted .22-caliber Remington rifle during a 2015 robbery at a Cherry Street home.