Guilty verdict in Christmas Eve mall slaying

By Chuck Weber

WEST PALM BEACH (WFLX)-A Palm Beach County jury has found a man guilty of a killing in a crowded mall on Christmas Eve.

Monday jurors convicted Wilson Pierre of second degree murder in the death of 23-year-old Berno Charlemond. It happened at the Boynton Beach Mall in 2006.

During trial Pierre's lawyer emphasized the different descriptions witnesses gave of the gunman.

The jury said it was deadlocked after a day of deliberations Friday. But Monday, less than an hour after reconvening, jurors agreed on their verdict.

Pierre, charged with first degree murder, was found guilty of the lesser crime of second degree murder--meaning it lacked premeditation. Police said Pierre and the victim belonged to rival gangs, and that the victim was chasing Pierre, when Pierre turned around and shot him.

"I was very surprised they came back as quickly as they did this morning," exclaimed Pierre's lawyer, Peter Grable. "I think the case was full of reasonable doubt." He said he would appeal.

If convicted of first degree murder as charged, Pierre would have automatically received life in prison. Instead he's looking at 25 years to life, at his sentencing December 23.