PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia jury has reached a swift verdict in a love triangle shooting involving a former corrections officer and his teenaged ex-girlfriend.
It happened during a confrontation with her brand new boyfriend, on an East Germantown playground in 2015. This case was a re-trial, after a mistrial was declared on the same charges last year.
In just three hours of deliberations, the jury acquitted 39-year-old Duval Nelson on two counts of aggravated assault, and possession of an instrument of crime. It grew out of a confrontation with Nikroy Prince, with whom Nelson’s 19-year-old girlfriend, Elizabeth Brown, had just hooked up.
Assistant District Attorney Rachel Collins Clarke maintained Nelson “provoked the encounter, did not reasonably fear for his life, and violated a duty to retreat.”
“Self-defense is a very specific area of the law,” she said. “Our position is that the defendant did not have a subjective belief that allowed him to discharge his weapon in the park that day.”
The defense said Nelson told Prince, “Yo, I’m carrying, and I don’t want trouble,” and as he backed away, Prince punched him in the head.
Defense lawyer James Funt says as the defendant was reeling backward, he pulled out his licensed handgun, and fired two shots into the ground, one of which ricocheted, and struck a 16-year-old boy, who later recovered.
“It’s only a guess, because juries are all funny animals, is that they looked at the undisputed evidence, including where he shot, and how he shot, as well as his character,” Funt said.
Last year, another jury deliberated for five days before the judge declared a mistrial.
One of Nelson’s defense lawyer’s was Larry Krasner, the incoming Philadelphia district attorney, who was elected earlier this month.