ALBANY, N.Y. - Jurors have found 17-year-old Jah-Lah Vanderhorst guilty of Manslaughter 1st-degree, a Class B Violent Felony, on Thursday in Albany County Court for the death of Tyler Rhodes last April.
Jurors came to the verdict on day four of deliberations Thursday around 2:30 p.m.
Vanderhorst faces up to 25 years in prison when sentenced on August 2, 2012.
During Wednesday's proceedings, the jury asked for read-backs of testimony from a friend of Rhodes, as well as that of Vanderhorst, himself, and the testimony of his 12-year-old brother, who said it was clear his older sibling wanted to fight Rhodes. The jury also asked for the definition of "intent to cause serious injury." Acting Supreme Court Justice Dan Lamont let the jurors go home around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday after their first full day of discussing whether or not to convict Vanderhorst.
Lamont released the jury early Tuesday, saying he had a mandatory meeting to attend in New York City. During that day, they asked the judge for read-backs on witness testimony from two of the victim's friends who were in the park at the time of his death.
On Monday, the final day of trial, Vanderhorst took the stand telling the jury he stabbed Tyler Rhodes out of self-defense. He is charged with second-degree murder and faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted.
Rhodes was killed in a fight last year in Albany's Hoffman Park. The fight was recorded on a cell phone camera.
In March, the court found 19-year-old Dhoruba Shuaib guilty to being an accomplice to Vanderhorst in the murder. He was found guilty of one count of Manslaughter 1st Degree, a Class B Violent Felony, under a status of accessorial liability. Which means he intentionally behaved in a way that did cause the death of the victim. He was sentenced to 21 years in state Prison.
Police say Vanderhorst intentionally stabbed Rhodes in his upper chest with a knife in broad daylight in front of witnesses, including children, and Shauib worked with Vanderhorst in doing this when he physically blocked Rhodes from behind, restricting his ability to move and further providing Vanderhorst the opportunity to stab him.
Rhodes, then 17-years old, was a standout on the Albany High School track team.
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