Juvenile Convicted in First Fenger Beating Death Trial

Pathologist said juvenile contributed to Derrion Albert's death

By BJ Lutz and Jeff Goldblatt
|  Wednesday, Dec 8, 2010  |  Updated 6:06 PM CDT
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Holder, Duncan Launch "National Conversation on Values"

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Nadashia Thomas, 6, a cousin of Derrion Albert, holds a sign beside a poster of him at Fenger High School.

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Derrion Albert Laid to Rest

Hundreds of mourners say their final farewell to Derrion Albert, and promise to use his death as a rallying cry to bring the community to task for youth violence.

Derrion Albert Laid to Rest

Hundreds of mourners say their final farewell to Derrion Albert, and promise to use his death as a rallying cry to bring the community to task for youth violence.
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Jurors deliberated for a little more than 30 minutes Wednesday before convicting a 15-year-old boy of murder in the beating death of Fenger High School student Derrion Albert.

A relative ran out of the courtroom when the verdict was announced, screaming "Oh Lord, oh Lord, oh Lord," while tears streamed down the boy's face.

But for Albert's family, the verdict clearly brought some measure of comfort.

"I’m pleased.  I'm relieved.  Justice was served," said Albert's grandfather, Norman Golliday. "The facts are the facts. Right? These are the facts and the prosecutor did a great job. I expected it to be just what it was."

Albert's mother had less to say, but in her brevity may have said a great deal.

"We've got a long way to go," she said as she brushed passed reporters at Cook County Juvenile Court.

The teen, charged as a juvenile and not publicly identified because of his age, was  the first of five people charged in the Sept. 24, 2009 beating to go on trial.

Defense Attorney Richard Kloak said he was disappointed with the verdict, which came just after the second day of testimony.

"We're going to appeal and keep fighting.  He's only 15 years old.  he's got his whole life ahead of him," he said.

Earlier in the day, pathologist Dr. Hilary McElligott told the jury that the single punch the teen threw at Albert contributed to the honor student's death.

McElligott said Albert died of brain trauma after being stomped on, kicked and hit in the head with boards.  Kloak acknowledged the boy hit Albert but said that didn't cause the other teen to die.

McElligott testified that all the blows contributed to Albert's death. 

The defendant "put Derrion in a position he could never recover from.  When he’s in that vulnerable position, that’s when the others beat and stomped Derrion to death," said Assistant Cook County State's Attorney Matthew Howroyd during his closing statements.

Albert's beating was captured on cell phone video and shown around the United States, providing the most vivid example of the escalating violence that in a six-month period claimed the lives of more than 20 Chicago public school students.

That video was shown to jurors on Tuesday.

Albert's death prompted President Barack Obama to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan to the city

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