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What you need to know for 10/22/2017

Schenectady man, 27, convicted of murder

Schenectady man, 27, convicted of murder

A Schenectady County Court jury today found city resident Jamel W. Johnson guilty in the October 201
Schenectady man, 27, convicted of murder
Jamel W. Johnson, at table right, stands with his attorney, Frederick Rench, as they await the verdict in Johnson's murder trial today. The Schenectady County Court jury found Johnson guilty.
Photographer: Steve Cook/Daily Gazette

A Schenectady County Court jury today found Jamel W. Johnson guilty in the October 2012 murder that prosecutors called retaliation for a prior beating he suffered.

The jury found Johnson, 27, of Schenectady and Brooklyn, guilty of second-degree murder and weapons counts after deliberations over two days.

After the forewoman read “guilty” on the murder count, a woman in the gallery supporting Johnson began to wail and left the courtroom. A man soon followed and hit the exit door loudly as he left.

After Judge Michael V. Coccoma instructed a brief pause as the man could be heard shouting in the hall, the forewoman continued reading the verdict: Guilty on all counts.

The jury found that Johnson killed 24-year-old Schenectady resident George Lloyd outside a Hamilton Hill club around 4 a.m. on Oct. 27, 2012.

Johnson is to be sentenced in February. He faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

Prosecutor Amy Burock contended Johnson retaliated for a beating he suffered at the hands of Lloyd and others six weeks earlier. Embarrassed, Johnson plotted revenge, Burock argued.

Johnson then exacted that revenge with an ambush and execution, Burock told the jury in opening statements.

Johnson waited in a dark area near some stairs outside The Mason’s Club bar on Schenectady Street, then fired from close enough to leave a burn on Lloyd’s skin, Burock argued. Johnson then continued firing after Lloyd fell.

Attorney Frederick Rench represented Johnson and focused on four eyewitnesses, attempting to discredit each. Rench argued that no credible witness could place Johnson as the shooter as witnesses changed their stories.

“I was hoping that the jury would see it that way,” Rench said after the verdict. “Apparently they didn’t. It’s a difficult loss.”

An appeal is expected, Rench said.

In a statement, Burock said the verdict will bring a degree of closure to Lloyd’s family. She also commended “courageous witnesses coming forward,” as well as city police detectives and district attorney investigators.

She specifically identified city police Lt. Eric Clifford, Det. Edward Ritz, as well as district attorney’s investigators Charles Sullivan and John Sims.

Johnson shot Lloyd outside a Halloween party at The Mason’s Club, 548 Schenectady St. The city shut down the club over various issues in the shooting’s wake. Police arrested and charged Johnson with the murder in April 2014.

The verdict also marks the second time someone has been convicted of shooting Lloyd.

He was one of three people shot outside Joe’s Bar on Fifth Avenue on Nov. 12, 2011, records show. Lloyd and another victim survived that shooting, but the third victim, 23-year-old Rashad Robinson, did not.

Rodney Davis was arrested in connection with that shooting in July 2012. Davis is serving 50 years to life for Robinson’s death and the attempted murder of Lloyd and the third victim. Burock prosecuted Davis as well.

The Johnson case is the seventh murder case resolved by the Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office this year, DA Robert Carney said in a statement.

Five came through trials, and two through guilty pleas.

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