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DVD co-creator found guilty in Clearwater murder trial

LARGO — The life that Allan Burney filmed in Da Hood Gone Wild — depicting violence in Clearwater's North Greenwood community — became reality Thursday afternoon as a jury convicted him of second-degree murder in the 2007 death of Michael Scott.

The jury, made up of four women and two men, took about two hours and 15 minutes to find Burney guilty of the shootings. The trial lasted three days.

When the verdict was announced at 5:45 p.m., Scott's mother, Terria Moore, closed her eyes tightly and nodded. When asked if she was pleased with the verdict, she said yes.

Burney will be sentenced at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 9, Judge Joseph A. Bulone said. Burney faces possible life in prison.

Burney, 21, co-creator of the DVD series dubbed Da Hood Gone Wild, also was convicted of three counts of attempted murder in the second degree and shooting at, within, or into a vehicle in the shooting Oct. 8, 2007, that killed Michael Scott, 23, and seriously wounded his brother, Antonio Scott.

A second man, Gaylord Shaw, 20, is also charged with second-degree murder and shooting at, within, or into a vehicle in the same incident. He will be tried later.

The shooting took place about 12:45 p.m. at N Betty Lane and Springdale Street after two groups of young men, who had been feuding for several weeks, got into a fight in a convenience store parking lot. One group had gotten into a car when the shots rang out.

During closing arguments Thursday, State Prosecutors David Tobiassen and Christopher M. LaBruzzo pointed repeatedly at Burney and said that he was the trigger man.

"He sprayed that car full of bullets with other individuals sitting in that car that ultimately led to the death of Michael Scott," LaBruzzo said.

But Ngozi C. Acholonu, Burney's attorney, tried to argue that it was Shaw and 14-year-old Sylvester Brown doing the shooting.

"He (Brown) lived in the house where the gun was," Acholonu said during closing arguments. "He said the gun was a Mac-11. Why does he know it was a Mac-11? He knew it was a Mac-11, he had seen it before, had handled it before, he had probably fired it that day."

In testimony, Brown said he knew the type of gun because he had seen it in a book.

Brown, who was 12 at the time of the shootings, was a reluctant witness and was at risk of being held for contempt of court when he refused to testify Tuesday. But after a night in jail, he testified Wednesday that he saw Burney get the gun from under a bed in Brown's home.

"He is scared of that man," Tobiassen said, pointing at Burney, who wore a blue shirt, a neck tie and his dreadlocks pulled back with a rubber band. "He is scared to death of that man. … He has to go back and live in Greenwood."

In her closing argument, Acholonu said that Burney was having an argument with Willie Scott, a brother of the shooting victims and one of the occupants of the car, while either Shaw or Brown was pulling the trigger.

Earlier Thursday, a gun expert testified that shell casings found in the area of the shooting were consistent with a Mac-11 gun.

Brown said after the shooting, he saw Burney give the gun to another man and that then Brown and Shaw took a cab to Dunedin.

The Yellow Cab driver, the defense's only witness, testified that he took Brown and Shaw, who were shirtless, to a convenience store to buy snacks and then to a house in Dunedin.

Acholonu said Brown and Shaw were trying to distance themselves from the murder scene. But the jury didn't buy that theory.

Demorris A. Lee can be reached at dalee@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4174.

DVD co-creator found guilty in Clearwater murder trial 08/27/09 [Last modified: Monday, August 31, 2009 1:58pm]
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