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Former Boston Policeman Convicted In Shooting of Teen

October 5, 1992 GMT

BOSTON (AP) _ A former Boston policeman was found guilty of manslaughter this morning in the fatal shooting of an unarmed teen-ager as he hid under a truck.

James E. ″Sonny″ Hall, 29, was convicted in Suffolk County Superior Court for the July 12, 1991, death of Christopher Rogers, 16. Rogers was shot once in the chest as he hid under a truck outside his home in the Dorchester section.

Hall was sentenced to 5 1/2 to 10 years in prison.

″There’s not a day goes by that I do not feel the pain of my murdered son,″ said Judy Rogers, the victim’s mother. ″His death and my pain was caused by the act of a man who was trained and took and oath to protect and not to kill people like my son.″

Prosecutor Thomas Mundy recommended that Hall serve a sentence of 14 to 18 years out of a possible maximum of 20 years. Frank McGee, Hall’s lawyer, asked for a suspended sentence.

″You can’t kill someone’s child and just walk away,″ said Jenel Manor, Rogers’ cousin.

But McGee criticized today’s verdict.

″If we’ve reached the stage of having jurors second-guess police officers as to when they should put their finger on the trigger, then we’ve got serious problems,″ he said.

Hall did not take the stand in his defense, but he had earlier said the gun fired accidentally when he lost his balance. He was on duty but outside of his assigned district at the time.

The jury deliberated for about 15 hours Friday, Saturday and this morning.

Prosecutors said Rogers and two teen-age friends were looking into an apparently stolen van when Hall approached them in his cruiser. Two of the youths fled and Rogers dove beneath a car.

Hall earlier was fired from the police force in connection with an unrelated beating incident.

The racial angle alleged in some police shootings was not present here; Hall, like Rogers, is black.