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Teen convicted of murder committed when he was 13

December 17, 2020 GMT

ELKHART, Ind. (AP) — A teenager who was 13 when accused of killing an 18-year-old in northern Indiana has been convicted of murder.

Elkhart County Judge Michael Christofeno delivered the verdict Wednesday, about three months after holding a bench trial.

Alphonso James, now 16, was 13 in 2018 when he was accused of repeatedly shooting Jaren Minies in a dispute over a gun, money and a video game system. The prosecutor chose to charge James as an adult.

James testified in September, telling the judge that it was a case of self-defense. He said Minies had aimed a gun at him.

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“I was afraid, and my adrenaline was rushing,” James said. “I’m just trying to get him off me.”

But prosecutor Vicki Becker said James’ explanation didn’t match the evidence. He will be sentenced on Jan. 14.