DULUTH — In what is probably the last photograph of Paris Allen alive, he is midstride and looking over his right shoulder toward friends — an image taken by home surveillance equipment trained on a sunny street in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.
An instant later, he was dead from a bullet that struck him near his ear.
A St. Louis County jury on Thursday evening found Brandon Capone Williams-Gillard guilty on three counts tied to the Aug. 2 drive-by shooting that killed Allen, 19, and sent a bullet through Caleb Reinolt-Nemec near his right hip.
After more than a week of testimony, the jury deliberated for nine hours before delivering its verdict, well after the courthouse had closed for the day.
Williams-Gillard, 25, was convicted of aiding and abetting second-degree murder, aiding and abetting assault with a dangerous weapon and drive-by shooting. His sentencing date has not yet been set.
The defendant, dressed in a cream-colored suitcoat, tie and pocket square, drooped when the verdict was read. Allen's family and friends, many who attended much of the trial, were quiet but emotional.
Surrounded by supporters, Brian Allen, who testified last week that he raised his son as a single father, did not comment when he left the courtroom.
Photos and videos from the scene show Williams-Gillard was in the passenger seat of a blue Chrysler during the shooting. The driver, Sanussi Tamsir Bangoura, 22, faces similar charges and remains in the St. Louis County jail. His next hearing is Dec. 14.
Ogima Joseph Currie, then 17, faces charges stemming from a retaliatory shooting about 30 minutes later at an apartment shared by Bangoura and Williams-Gillard. He will be in court Dec. 22.
Williams-Gillard's attorney, Laura Zimm, did not comment on Thursday's verdict.
Witnesses testified that there was an ongoing feud between Williams-Gillard and Bangoura and the other group of young men. In the past, it had always been about throwing looks and insults and had been physical.
But prosecution witness Jackson Morales told the jury that on the day of the shooting, the Chrysler's driver and a passenger confronted him in a parking lot. However, he did not name the two, citing trauma, a foggy memory and that he did not want to be a rat.
Morales testified that he didn't want to face them alone, so he asked them to meet him down the street to box. Then he called his friends.
Morales and Reinolt-Nemec approached the Chrysler on foot, followed by Allen and brothers Ogima and Migizi Currie. Reinolt-Nemec said he saw Bangoura reach for what he assumed was a gun — on a cellphone video he recorded that day it clearly was a gun — so he punched him in the face and ran.
Prosecutor Victoria Wanta said during closing arguments that much of what happened can be seen on surveillance video and in photos — easily proving that Williams-Gillard took part in the shooting. The mix ammunition debris at the scene matches what was found in Williams-Gillard's safe at his home.
"A unique footprint of ammunition," she called it.
Zimm, a public defender, poked at the credibility of the state's witnesses, saying their stories changed repeatedly between police interviews and the witness stand. The bullet casings on the floor of Bangoura's car could have been from another day, she said. And the drivers' seat was at a deep recline — not an easy position for someone in the passenger seat to shoot out the opposite window.
"Suspicious," Zimm said. "Absolutely. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt? No."
Allen, who spent much of his life in Duluth but lived in California at the time of his death, wasn't part of this feud. He had been visiting the city for a couple days and had a plane ticket to return home. The day before he died, the group explored Nopeming, a decrepit former sanatorium on the edge of the city, Reinolt-Nemec testified.