FT. LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – Jurors have convicted Janard Orange of first-degree murder for the killing of a Boyd Anderson High student during a robbery last year.
The jury, which delivered the verdict shortly before 5:30 p.m., said that Orange did not fire the gun. The jury also convicted Orange of armed robbery and assault.
In the early morning hours of April 3, 2009 Greg Smith, 16, and several of his friends were standing around outside the high school after attending a talent show; they were waiting for a ride home.
A car pulled up and Orange, who was 18 at the time, along with Terrance James and two other people got out and reportedly robbed Smith and his friends at gun point.
“He (Smith) was telling the shooter ‘Take everything, just please don’t shoot me’,” testified Gregory Mendez.
This week Smith’s friend testified that the person with the gun fired a single shot which pierced Smith’s chest, he died on the scene.
During his last chance to speak to the jury, prosecutor Gregg Rossman painted wildly different pictures of both teens.
“On that night, Gregory Smith made a choice to go to Boyd Anderson High School and to take in some of the joy it is to be a teenager, to be a 9th grader in high school. On that same night, a teenager of the same age decided to get in a green Mustang with a gun and go look for an opportunity that he could take advantage of and that’s why we’re here,” Rossman said.
During the trial another teen who was robbed that night said seconds before Smith was shot he begged for his life.
“He said ‘All I got is a cell phone bro, please don’t take my life’,” Cameron Mitchell told the jury.
James, who has admitted he was driving that night, cut a deal with prosecutors earlier this year. In exchange for his testimony against Orange, James would be sentenced to 25 years. On Wednesday, he took the stand.
“What happened,” asked the prosecutor?
“A shot was fired,” replied James.
“By who,” he was asked?
“Janard,” James responded.
Orange’s defense attorney, Chris Pole, told the jury that those who testified against his client were just trying to pass the buck.
“Because they’re all buddies, they’re all buddies. They don’t really know Janard, so they’re going to lay it off on Janard and save each other and themselves,” said Pole.
Broward Sheriff’s detectives who investigated the shooting said Orange shot Smith because he wanted to increase his street credibility. They said he looked up to James who has a history of criminal activity including attempted murder.