Murder Trial Ends With Guilty Verdict to a Lesser Charge

More than three years after the murder and one year after the arrests, the family of 14-year-old Desmond Ray may soon have some closure.

The suspected killer, 20-year-old Ben McDonald, has been on trail for two days on first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder charges.

Wednesday evening the jury came back with a verdict, but not one many expected.

It took about a half an hour for the jury to deliberate and return with a guilty verdict, but not of first degree murder.

McDonald was convicted of manslaughter, which means the prosecution failed to prove an intent to kill the victim.

Manslaughter requires proof of reckless indifference for life.

Closing arguments weren't long. The state stressed that the defendant would not have dressed all in black with gloves, ski mask and firearm if he did not intend to kill the victim.

Defense counsel insisted that McDonald intended only to scare the victim, who shot at McDonald's friend Eric Richardson the night before.

McDonald faces anywhere from 15 to 30 years in prison. Sentencing will be on January 13.


8195 Front Beach Road Panama City Beach, FL 32407 Station: 850-234-7777 News: 850-230-5221 Fax: 850-233-6647 FCC Form 398
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 2072277 - wjhg.com/a?a=2072277