A Texas teenager was found guilty on Monday of murdering an Iraqi man who had just arrived in the United States and was shot as he took family pictures in an apartment parking lot last year.
A Dallas jury convicted Nykerion Nealon, 18, of killing Ahmed al-Jumaili, 36. The jury immediately began deliberating on a sentence for the teen, who faces up to 99 years in prison.
Prosecutors said Nealon fired 14 rounds from an AK-47, striking al-Jumaili once in the chest in the parking lot of the complex where he and his family lived. Al-Jumaili, who had only been in the United States for about three weeks, ran to his apartment and collapsed.
He was pronounced dead at an area hospital. Dallas police said Nealon did not know al-Jumaili’s ethnicity and the murder charge was not prosecuted as a hate crime. Nealon appeared to have been trying to retaliate for a separate shooting that took place at his girlfriend's apartment, authorities said.
A lawyer for Nealon was not immediately available for comment.
"While no verdict can bring our beloved Ahmed back, and there are no winners today, the family is relieved this trial has rendered a guilty verdict and that justice has prevailed,” said Alia Salem, executive director of the local branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim advocacy group.
(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)