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Guilty verdict in murder of Schenectady teen
SCHENECTADY -- James Wells has been found guilty for the death of a fifteen year old shot and killed at a party in the Mont Pleasant neighborhood of Schenectady.
Wells may never come out of prison after sentencing. A Schenectady County jury found him guilty for the June 2011 killing of Eddie Stanley, a basketball standout on the Schenectady City High School basketball team.
Stanley's family was overcome with emotion as the jury found Wells guilty of a handful of charges -- murder in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon, reckless endangerment, tampering with physical evidence, unlawful imprisonment, and endangering the welfare of a child.
"Now my baby can sleep in peace," said Stanley's mother Tanisha. "All eleven counts, and he deserved every last one of them."
Almost two years since a shooting which took the life of her fifteen year old son, Tanisha Stanley reacts to the jury's guilty verdict. This comes after four days of jury deliberations over the fate of an admitted member of the "Bloods" gang. The prosecutor believes any effort James Wells made to defend himself on the witness stand was in vain.
"I didn't believe it," prosecutor Philip Mueller said. "I thought it was instrumental and convenient and tailored to meet our evidence."
There was a lot of that evidence over the weeks-long trial. It included testimony from five people who said they saw Wells shoot in a stairwell in a Mont Pleasant house after a dispute over missing car keys.
"Not for a second do I believe any of those people who said he told them about it and we thought that all of those eyewitnesses had significant problems and that some of them might not even have been in the stairway at the time they said they were," said defense attorney Cheryl Coleman.
The prosecutor, however, says those witnesses coming forward may offer some comfort to the Stanley family because of their willingness to come forward.
"When we convict a person like James Wells of a crime like this i think we have saved lives," Mueller said. "I think he would kill other people."
Coleman says her client was smart, and had a lot of good qualities. She and Mr. Wells discussed an appeal briefly after the verdict was delivered.
Wells will be sentenced on May 31st. The maximum jail time on the murder count is twenty-five years to life, but the gun possession counts could add to time behind bars.