All guilty on all counts! That's the verdict from the trial of four members of the same family--the Newtons. Sean Newton stands convicted of first degree murder and the vote was unanimous convicting him as well as his brother and parents on all charges.
The verdict came after four hours of deliberation-- and when it was finally read it was a clean sweep. All defendants guilty as charged. Sean Newton guilty of first degree murder of Alexus Rankins as well as inciting a riot and obstruction of justice; Brandon Newton guilty of accessory, obstruction of justice and inciting to riot.
Nina and Rodney Newton guilty of accessory after the fact to first degree murder and Nina guilty of obstruction of justice. The lead prosecutor Cynthia Killingsworth says the verdict sends a message. "I hope the family can rest better now. When you have this kind of a trial they kind of get lost. And I don't want them to get lost Alexus Rankins was a beautiful young lady and she's not with us anymore. I also hope it sends a message to people who try to help others who murder get away. Because that has to stop."
District Attorney John DeRosier agrees. "This kind of violent activity is not going to be tolerated by the rest of the parish, by the rest of the city. We just can't have that. You see what happens here. A fight escalates and all of a sudden somebody's dead."
The four Newtons stood holding hands as the clerk read the verdicts. Attorneys for Sean and Brandon Newton declined comment. But Todd Clemons, who represented the parents, says while he respects the jury and the system he does not think the evidence was there to convict. "In this particular case I thought there was sufficient reasonable doubt not to convict anybody of anything. With all due respect the jury disagreed with me and that's certainly their right. I mean I believe in our system. I think we have the greatest system in the world. In this particular case the system decided that four of them were guilty of these crimes. I just don't agree with the verdict."
Clemons says they'll be reviewing various grounds for an appeal. The family members have been taken back to the jail where they will await their sentence in July. Sean Newton gets mandatory life in prison.