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Archive for Sunday, July 24, 2005

Stray bullet shooting case ends in mistrial

July 24, 2005

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— Prosecutors are looking to retry a Kansas City teenager accused of firing a stray bullet that killed a man sitting in his house.

The murder trial against Kevin Briggs, 18, ended in a mistrial Friday after a single juror refused to convict, uncertain that Briggs pulled the trigger on the shot that killed Jeffrey Tilman on Dec. 11. The dissenting juror said she couldn't favor convicting Briggs of second-degree murder.

Tilman, a 29-year-old mechanic, was working on his computer when a bullet came through his living room window and struck him in the back of the head. The shot passed by his wife and children, who were watching television in the same room.

Witnesses told police that four men, including Briggs, were driving near Tilman's house in an Oldsmobile Cutlass when the front passenger leaned out of the car and fired a handgun at a passing vehicle. Investigators said the bullet that hit Tilman traveled 250 feet.

Most witnesses, including the alleged driver, Michael Cooper, said Briggs pulled the trigger.

But one witness said she thought one of the other passengers fired the gun - confusion that defense attorneys played up in their closing statements.

Cooper, 18, faces charges of second-degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon and two counts of armed criminal action.

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