Jury Reaches Guilty Verdict In Slaying Of Retired Teacher
Posted November 14, 2006 9:04 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — A man charged with killing a retired Raleigh schoolteacher was found guilty Tuesday of first-degree murder.
Ezavia Allen, 20, was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the April 2005 slaying of Shirley Newkirk, 63. She was shot in the driveway of her southeast Raleigh home as she prepared for an early-morning walk with a friend.
Allen, who was also found guilty of seven counts of robbery, one count of attempted robbery and one count of attempted murder, did not react as the verdict was read. His family members, however, broke down in tears.
The jury was given the case to consider Monday afternoon. It took just under seven hours of deliberation before reaching the guilty verdict.
Prosecutors said Allen shot Newkirk during a robbery spree, but the defense maintained Allen fired the gun when he was startled by Newkirk's car horn and that he never aimed at her.
In hopes of being convicted of a lesser crime and avoiding the death penalty, Allen last month admitted to shooting Newkirk.
The first-degree murder conviction could mean a death sentence or life in prison without parole.
Sentencing is scheduled for Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., during which Newkirk's daughters are expected to talk about how their mother's death has changed their lives. Some of Allen's family members are also expected to testify in an effort to spare his life.
The Allen family declined to comment on the conviction Tuesday. The Newkirk family requested privacy.