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Teen found guilty in homeless killings

PONTIAC, Mich. — A 15-year-old was convicted on Tuesday of beating two homeless men to death in a fading Michigan industrial city and will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Thomas McCloud was charged with first-degree felony murder in the deaths of Wilford "Frenchie" Hamilton and Lee Hoffman, two 61-year-old homeless men who prosecutors say were attacked by a group of teenagers in August 2008 in Pontiac, which is about 30 miles northwest of Detroit.

The Oakland County jury deliberated for about five hours before delivering the verdict against McCloud of Pontiac.

A second defendant, Dontez Tillman, also 15, is charged with first-degree felony murder in Hamilton's death. A second jury deliberated Tuesday without reaching a verdict for him, and they will resume deliberations this morning.

McCloud removed the glasses he had worn throughout the trial and wept after the verdict against him was announced. Several jurors also cried as they were polled by the court.

Hamilton and Hoffman were brutally beaten, with robbery as a motive, assistant prosecuting attorney Gregory Townsend said during closing arguments earlier Tuesday.

The attackers had "an intent to harass, an intent to intimidate, an intent to hurt," Townsend told jurors, "… and certainly no respect for human life."

McCloud will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Nov. 13.

Teen found guilty in homeless killings 10/27/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 9:42pm]
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