An Albany teen who fired a stray bullet that killed a 10-year-old girl as she played outside her home last spring has been convicted of murder.
An Albany County jury found Jermayne Timmons, 16, guilty Wednesday of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon in the death of Kathina Thomas.
Thomas, whose family moved to Albany from Guyana, was shot while standing on the steps of her apartment May 29. Her mother, Shondell McAllister, testified that her daughter cried out “Mommy, I’ve been hit!” before stumbling to the ground, bleeding from a wound to her back.
Thomas was killed about a mile from the state Capitol in the city’s West Hill neighborhood, which community residents say is plagued by gunplay and other violence.
Timmons took the stand and admitted he fired a gun but claimed he didn’t fire the fatal shot. He said he was with a group of boys when he fired at another group down the street, but the .32-caliber pistol he used could not have fired the .45-caliber bullet that killed the girl.
He also told the jury he’d used a “community” gun that was kept at his apartment complex. Prosecutors said the weapon was never recovered because Timmons got rid of it.
After deliberating for close to 12 hours, the jury found Timmons not guilty of intentional murder but convicted him of murder with depraved indifference to human life.
“It’s a very disappointing verdict,” said Deputy Public Defender Peter Lynch. “We believe there are a multitude of complex legal issues with the case that we’ll be pursuing on appeal.”
Among his objections was the judge’s decision Tuesday to allow the late addition of an attempted murder charge against Timmons. Lynch called that an illegal amendment to the indictment that he plans to challenge on appeal.
“We believe that tainted the entire trial process,” he said.
Assistant District Attorney David Rossi did not immediately return calls for comment, but District Attorney David Soares issued a statement thanking the jury and police.
“That one bullet fired on the evening of May 29th has tragically altered the lives of two young people and their families,” Soares said.
“One family has buried their child while the other family has lost their child to the criminal justice system. This community must come together and say enough is enough, or this will not be the last tragedy we see on the streets of Albany.”
Timmons, who was charged as a juvenile, faces up to 15 years to life in prison when he’s sentenced in March.