Two Convicted in Mall Shooting
The alleged gunman faces trial sometime next year.
A Baltimore County jury has convicted two men accused in a fatal shooting at Towson Town Center last December.
William Ward III and Frank Theodore Williams were found guilty of all charges.
Prosecutors say the two were part of a group that followed Baltimore teen Rodney Pridget through Towson Town Center before alleged gunman Tyrone Brown shot him outside Nordstrom.
Ward, 45, of the 600 block of Cator Avenue in Baltimore, and Williams, 32, of the 2900 block of Lakebrook Circle in Baltimore Highlands were charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and use of a handgun in a violent crime in the death of Rodney Vest Pridget, who was shot eight times outside Nordstrom on Dec. 19.
Family members of Williams wept, and one left the courtroom as the verdict was read. Members of Pridget's family, who had attended court throughout the trial and during deliberations, were not in attendance for the verdict.
The verdict followed more than 15 hours of deliberations. The jury began Friday, after the defense declined to call witnesses, and reached its verdict at 12:46 p.m. Wednesday. Both men could face life in prison. Sentencing is set for Oct. 12.
"I am very proud of the citizens of Baltimore County. They worked really hard in there," said prosecutor Robin Coffin. She also praised the "extraordinary work by our police department."
Josh Insley, a public defender representing Williams, said the defense plans to file a motion for a new trial.
"We believe that we put on a compelling argument that Mr. Williams was not part of this plan. He was used by them basically as a driver and he was of course left at the scene," Insley said. "It was always part of our position that he wasn't part of any conspiracy."
In their trial last week, prosecutors said Pridget, 19, was targeted because he allegedly shot Williams' cousin, Dustin Smith.
Police say Williams and Ward were among a group of four that stalked Pridget through the mall. Surveillance footage and phone records showed the men communicating and interacting around the mall. During the trial, a police gang enforcement expert testified that Williams and Ward are leaders in the Black Guerilla Family.
Jermell Brandon, who allegedly made the phone call to Williams that led to Williams driving to the mall with Ward and accused gunman Tyrone Brown, testified that the four met to discuss plans to kill Pridget and that Brown took the role of shooter to advance his status in the gang.
Brown's trial, scheduled to start next month, was postponed to next year. Brandon struck a plea deal with prosecutors and faces up to 20 years in federal prison on the conspiracy charge.