Park shooter found guilty
After less than a day of deliberations, a Lycoming County jury on Wednesday found Raymaar Alford guilty in the Flanigan Park shooting death of Kevan Connolly.
As the murder verdict was issued at 1:24 p.m., a single hushed voice could be heard saying “yes” from the prosecution side of the courtroom.
The more-than-weeklong trial featured a parade of witnesses testifying for either side.
The prosecution, led by Lycoming County District Attorney Eric Linhardt, had the burden to prove that Alford shot and killed Connolly, 23, in the park filled with more than 100 people during the early evening hours of July 9, 2012.
Testimony included that of a number of witnesses who placed Alford in the park that night along with Qu Mar Moore, the other alleged gunmen in the shooting.
Evidence presented included bullet casings fired from at least two guns at the shooting scene, as well as video from a bus that the prosecution claimed revealed Alford and other possible gunman fleeing the park.
Alford and Moore were arrested more than two months after the shooting in Philadelphia.
Moore remains incarcerated. His trial date has not been set.
“I’m happy for the verdict,” said the victim’s mother, Jennifer Connolly, after the trial.
With tears streaming down her face, she quickly added the verdict really changes nothing, however. Her son, she said, remains dead and his four children are without a father.
“There is no winner in this,” she said.
Connolly’s father, Kevan Connolly Sr., agreed.
“Thank the Lord,” he said when asked about the verdict just before he left the courthouse.
Defense attorney Donald Martino declined to comment, as did the family of the defendant.
Martino did note that the murder charge against Alford is an adult offense, despite his being 17 at the time of the shooting.
In addition to being guilty of first-degree murder, Alford also was convicted of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, possession of an instrument of crime, recklessly endangering another person, firearms not to be carried without a license, and persons not to possess firearms.
The jury found Alford not guilty of aggravated assault and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Under the state’s sentencing guidelines, he could receive from 35 years to life in prison.
No sentencing date has been set.
“Justice was done today,” Linhardt said. “I am thankful for the jury’s time and service, and grateful to the witnesses who demonstrated courage in coming forward. I know that this has been a long 2-year wait for Mr. and Mrs. Connolly. I only hope that this verdict helps them on their road to healing following the loss of their son.”