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Tulsa County Jury Finds Murder Suspect Guilty

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The incident happened near the intersection of Cincinnati and Independence. The incident happened near the intersection of Cincinnati and Independence.
Rashad Easley [photo: Tulsa Co jail] Rashad Easley [photo: Tulsa Co jail]

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A Tulsa man involved in a deadly case of mistaken identity now faces life behind bars.  A Tulsa County District Court jury found Rashad Easley guilty of first degree murder on Thursday afternoon.

Easley was driving last September when his passenger opened fire on a carload of teen who had just left church. Sixteen-year-old Donovan Crutcher was killed, and four others seriously injured.

The guilty verdict on Thursday was the result the family of Donovan Crutcher had hoped for. Rashad Easley faced one count of first degree murder and four counts of assault with a deadly weapon.

The jury found him guilty, and recommended life for each verdict.

"It's really a bittersweet decision, and I'm just glad justice has prevailed. The law has taken its course," said Joey Crutcher, the victim's grandfather.

Easley was behind the wheel of the vehicle that gunned down a red car on North Cincinnati last September. Police say Vincent Berry, also known as Venom, opened fire with an assault rifle.

Shortly after he left church, Crutcher was killed. The four other passengers survived, but were seriously injured.

Prosecutors argued that even though Easley didn't pull the trigger, he was one seeking vengeance for another gang-related incident. He was the one who targeted what turned out to be the wrong car.

The defense countered that Easley was simply along for the ride and thought the group was en route to rob a bank.

The jury disagreed, but the decision still leaves the Crutchers far from closure.

"It's a senseless thing.  I've stated all the time that my heart goes out to actually the perpetrators as well as us being the victims because it's a no win situation. Everyone is losing," said Donavan Crutcher's grandfather, Joey.

Unfortunately, the Crutcher family's ordeal is not yet over.  Vincent Berry and Antonio Wells will each face separate trials.

Related stories:

12/16/2008  Shooting Suspects Headed To Trial

10/20/2009 Several Murder Trials Taking Place At Tulsa Co. Courthouse

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