MILWAUKEE – A jury convicted a Milwaukee man Thursday of first-degree reckless homicide in the death of a 5-year-old girl who was fatally shot in the head as she sat on her grandfather's lap.
The jury also found Carl Barrett Jr., 21, guilty of recklessly endangering Laylah's Peterson's grandmother, grandfather and sister who were present during the shooting in November 2014. Authorities said Barrett and another man targeted the wrong house during a revenge shooting.
Prosecutor Sara Beth Hill said afterward that she hopes the verdict sends a message to people to think twice before taking action with a gun, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported (http://bit.ly/2doxNSo ).
In her closing argument, Hill said Barrett was helping the other alleged shooter, Arlis Gordon, 24, who was upset because a jury had found a man charged with killing Gordon's half brother not guilty earlier in the day. Gordon and Barrett thought they were shooting up the home of the acquitted defendant's girlfriend, she said.
Barrett was all too willing to participate in the vigilante justice, even though "it wasn't his beef," she said.
In his closing argument, defense attorney Christopher Hartley challenged the credibility of key state witnesses. He also suggested that anyone could have used the gun prosecutors say Barrett always carried.
"These guns are almost traded like I would trade a baseball card when I was a kid," he said.
Laylah's family applauded investigators and prosecutors but left the courtroom without speaking to reporters. Hill said the family sounded pleased to get "the justice that they were seeking."
Gordon pleaded guilty last week to second-degree reckless homicide.
Another defendant, Paul Farr, pleaded guilty in February to two counts of harboring or aiding a felon. He testified he drove Barrett and Gordon to the house.
Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com