PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Several people were thrown out of a Palm Beach County courtroom moments after a guilty verdict was read in the first-degree murder trial of Corey Graham, Jr. The 20 year old was convicted in the shooting death of Jimmy McMillan, 49, a well-known Belle Glade grocery store owner.
It was a dramatic end to week-long murder trial. Graham was found guilty on all counts. A jury of four women and eight men found graham guilty of first degree murder, robbery and also aggravated assault.
McMillan's sister, Connie Deaton opted to address Graham directly about what she and her family have been through. "Jimmy had the right to raise his children, see them graduate from high school, see his young make an interception at a football game," she said, weeping. "You took that from us. And I hope you rot in hell!."
Immediately after her emotional comments, chaos erupted in the courtroom. The defendant himself used profanity directed at McMillan's sister. More than a half dozen people were escorted out of the courtroom - including Graham, who was in handcuffs.
"Sometimes people just can't hold themselves back and I guess you could see that with Mr. Graham, Jr. as well," said Kirk Volker, prosecutor on the case who said he was very satisfied with the verdict.
Closing arguments were completed just before noon on Thursday, with prosecutors contending that Graham must be held accountable for arming himself and shooting McMillan. While on the stand on Wednesday, Graham admitted to pulling the trigger. "His story is ridiculous," said Volker to the jury. "The evidence against him is overwhelming. Ladies and gentlemen, it's time for him to be accountable for what he did."
Defense attorneys, meanwhile, argued that another man - Jonathan Jones - who was with Graham at the time of the shooting had forced Graham to carry out the crime. Attorney David McPherrin said Graham would never have gone into the Alabama Georgia grocery store on January 2, 2012 if it was not for an armed Jones' making threats toward Graham.
Corey Graham, Jr. will be sentenced September 3 at 10 a.m. in Judge Charles Burton's courtroom. Graham could spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.
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