The family of an Akron man who was shot and killed in November shouted with glee and applauded prosecutors after learning Friday afternoon that a Summit County jury had found his accused killer guilty of murder.
“I’m glad my brother got justice,” said Monique Fiorello, one of Shawn Prude’s sisters.
A Summit County jury deliberated for about two hours Friday before finding Devon Williams guilty of murder in Prude’s death and all of the other charges against him.
Williams, 22, faces life in prison when he is sentenced at 1 p.m. Wednesday by Summit County Common Pleas Judge Christine Croce.
Williams was the second person who was tried for murder and claimed self-defense in Summit County since a new state law became effective that put the burden on prosecutors and not defense attorneys. Prosecutors now must prove a defendant wasn’t justified in using deadly force.
Andre Warren, 28, of Akron, also was convicted by a jury last month of murder in a July 1 fatal shooting after claiming self-defense. He will be sentenced May 20.
Williams is accused of shooting and killing Prude, 20, on Nov. 20 and firing shots at another man, who was unharmed. The shooting happened at Family Food & Deli, a convenience store on South Arlington Street near Wilbeth Road, and was captured on a surveillance video.
Williams, who testified during the four-day trial, admitted to being guilty of carrying a concealed weapon. He claimed he started carrying a gun for protection because Prude was targeting him.
Attorneys for both sides acknowledged bad blood between Williams and Prude but disagreed on why Williams fired 12 shots at Prude while he still sat in the driver’s seat of his SUV with the engine running.
Assistant Prosecutor Joe Dangelo said during his closing argument that Williams couldn’t have seen the gun Prude had on his lap in the SUV. He said Williams could have taken other avenues rather than opening the door of the store while crouching below signs, sticking the gun out of the door and firing.
“There’s no such thing as anticipatory self-defense,” Dangelo said. “Mr. Williams might have jumped the gun, so to speak.”
Michael Goldberg, Williams’ attorney, however, claimed Williams saw Prude had a gun and was trapped in a store with only one exit and his enemy parked right beside it.
“The law of self-defense applies whether you’re rich or poor, black or white, live on Arlington Street or in the country,” he said. “There’s one standard. We’ve met it here.”
The jury found Williams guilty of two counts each of murder and felonious assault and one count each of attempted murder and carrying a concealed weapon. Several of the charges included gun specifications.
Williams sat with his eyes downcast and shook his head as he listened to the verdicts.
Goldberg, a Cleveland attorney retained by Williams, said they were very disappointed in the verdict and will appeal.
“I still don’t know what Devon could have done differently,” Goldberg said.
Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705, firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @swarsmithabj.