A jury found a grocery clerk guilty of killing a 17-year-old boy who ran out of the store with a beer he didn’t pay for in Memphis, Tennessee, in a case that had sparked protests, authorities said.
Anwar Ghazali was convicted of second-degree murder after a four-day trial, Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich said Friday.
“This defendant took it upon himself to be the judge and jury and the executioner over a $2 beer,” prosecutor Lora Fowler said, according to CNN affiliate WMC.
The shooting happened in March 2018, after Dorian Harris walked out of the Top Stop Shop with a beer without paying, Weirich said.
Security video of the incident played in court shows that Ghazali, while behind the counter dealing with another customer, pulled out a handgun and pointed it at Harris. He then ran outside to follow the teen and fired several times.
Afterward, he returned to the store and told a witness, “I think I shot him.” He did not call the police, and neither did any other customer inside the store, WMC reported.
Harris was shot at least three times and was left to bleed out, Fowler said. His body was found two days later in a yard near the store with gunshots in the back of his thigh, Weirich said.
Ghazali’s defense attorney, Blake Ballin, told CNN in an email that Ghazali maintains he acted recklessly that night but his intention was never to harm Harris.
He said they were pleased that the jury rejected the prosecution’s argument that this was a calculated and premeditated murder motivated by the theft of a beer. That would have come with a potential life sentence.
Ghazali is expected to be sentenced on September 23.
“At his sentencing hearing I expect him to express his heartfelt remorse and his hope that Mr. Harris’ family can forgive him and continue healing,” Ballin said.
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SOURCE: CNN, Madeline Holcombe and Eric Levenson