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Jefferson found guilty of manslaughter

February 02, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Harrisburg, Pa., man faces up to 20 years in prison after being convicted Tuesday of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting of a borough man.The jury deliberated three and a half hours before finding Bryant K. Jefferson, 39, guilty in the Oct. 6, 1997, death of Charles Green Jr., 22, who was killed outside his West Catherine Street home during an argument.

Jefferson admitted shooting Green, who died of a single gunshot wound to the chest, but testified it was in self-defense.

"I just came up and fired," Jefferson said in Franklin County Court. He said he was standing outside a car when Green whirled around and pointed a nickle-plated semiautomatic handgun at him.

"The gun ... flew out into the street" after Green was shot, Jefferson said.

Borough police never found a gun and defense attorney William Tully said it was taken before officers arrived.

Defense witness Theodore Crist, of 38 W. Catherine St., said he looked outside after hearing a gunshot and saw people around Green's body. "They were taking his jewelry off and taking stuff from his pockets," Crist said.

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Crist said he saw a man remove something from Green's shorts and minutes later saw the man walking down the street with a handgun. He also saw Jefferson pointing a gun at a group of people on the sidewalk.

Jefferson said he intended to stay at the scene until police arrived, but saw Belinda Guice pick up Green's gun. At that point he said he drove off and turned himself in to police.

On Monday, Guice, of Fayetteville, Pa., denied her cousin Charles Green had a gun, or that anyone went through his pockets. A forensic pathologist testified Green was wearing chains, bracelets and rings when he examined the body, but had only one cent in his pockets.

Police testified there was pocket change, a letter and other items scattered around the body.

The incident began with an earlier argument between Jefferson's girlfriend, Gayle Jones, of Harrisburg, and Alonzo Green, of Chambersburg, who has been missing since the shooting.

"The whole thing was about me not allowing them to sell drugs in my houses," said Jones, who owns rental properties in Chambersburg.

Jones, Jefferson and two other people returned later and another argument began with Guice and Sean Colter of Chambersburg. Jefferson said he did not know any of the people at the house.

Jones and the other passengers said they saw Green come out of the house and pull a gun.

Jefferson said he ran to the car, got the gun from under the driver's seat and fired. Guice testified Jefferson had the gun when he first left the car.

"I argued for something higher than voluntary manslaughter, but it was a hard case factually," Assistant District Attorney Jill McCracken said after the verdict. She argued there was no evidence Green had a gun.

"I don't think there was evidence of a specific intent to kill, which is necessary for voluntary manslaughter," Tully said.

Judge William Kaye revoked Jefferson's $175,000 bond. He will be sentenced within the next 60 days.

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