Johnny Mize Jr. Found Guilty Of First Degree Manslaughter
A jury found Johnny Mize Jr. guilty of first degree manslaughter for the shooting death of 15-year-old Jake Ulrich in 2017.
Prosecutors said Mize shot the teen when he stole a box of fireworks worth $1200, but was marked down to $600.
The jury disagreed with Mize's self-defense argument, and recommended Mize spend 25 years in prison.
"This was for Jake," his mom, Jacklyn, said. "And this was about Jake. I'm just happy with the verdict."
During closing arguments, Mize's attorney Stan Monroe asked the jury, who is the real victim here?
He said Mize has been torn up emotionally since the shooting, and reminded the jury none of this would have happened if Ulrich and his cousin hadn't decided to steal the most expensive fireworks pack from Mize's stand.
Monroe said Mize blindly fired out of self-defense, because he thought he heard a gunshot.
But prosecutors argued self-defense did not apply here, because there's no proof Ulrich or his cousin had a gun.
Prosecutor Erik Grayless said the evidence showed Mize stood next to the passenger side door and shot point blank into Ulrich's truck, hitting him in the chest and killing him.
"When that jury heard the number of versions given by the Mize family about what happened, it was clear to them they were not telling the truth," Grayless said.
Members of the Mize family were in hysterics after the verdict came out; even Mize's attorney said he was overwhelmed, and didn't see the verdict coming.
A judge will sentence Mize later this month.