Jury Deliberations Begin in Prince Okorie Murder Case

The jury charged with determining Raymond Roseboro‘s guilt in the death of 16-year-old Prince Okorie began deliberating Tuesday afternoon.

The morning was spent in closing arguments, with Prosecutor Steve Gripkey asking the jury to find Roseboro guilty of first-degree murder, and Roseboro’s attorney, James Rudasill, telling them his client is innocent of all charges.

This was a horrible crime; as human beings we are naturally repulsed by these types of images,” Rudasill told the jury, motioning to Okorie’s autopsy photos, which show bullet wounds in his head.

“But the only thing that would make this worse would be to convict the wrong person on this crime.”

Roseboro took the stand Monday and testified that he did not shoot Okorie the afternoon of Nov. 30, 2010. In an accounting of how he had spent that day, Roseboro said he was at home that afternoon, at the same time Okorie was shot, waiting for an appointment with a jobs counselor.

Roseboro’s mother, cousin, and girlfriend were with him, he said, and he met with the counselor that evening at home. The mother, cousin, and counselor testified on behalf of the defense in the case and said that Roseboro was indeed home that afternoon.

Gripkey said other witnesses refute that alibi.

Two witnesses for the prosecution, both young men who said they were friends of Okorie and Roseboro, said that the four were walking together to a shop when a gunshot rang out. One of the men’s fathers testified that he saw the young men walking in the direction of the shop that afternoon, then, a few minutes later, heard sirens. Another prosecution witness, a nearby resident who witnessed the shooting while taking out the trash, identified the shooter as having “short dreads.” Gripkey argued that Roseburo was the only one in that group who had that hairstyle at the time.

Those witnesses, said Gripkey, had reason to remember details of that day because for them, Nov. 30, 2010, was “not an ordinary day.” Those witnesses, Gripkey said, were confronted with “all of that drama, all of that horror, [of Okorie’s death] on Delafield.”

In comparison, Nov. 30, was an ordinary day in the Roseboro household, Gripkey said, telling the jury he found it odd that Roseboro’s mother, cousin and counselor remembered what Roseboro was wearing that day and where he was in the house.

For them, Gripkey said, “it was just another day. Just a normal day.”

Opening arguments in the case were heard on March 14. The jury is expected back to continue deliberations Wednesday morning.

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