Justice system fails white youth defending his neighborhood
A Common Pleas jury yesterday acquitted Quinzell McCall, 17, of North Philadelphia, of murder in the shooting death of a Fairmount teen last year, but convicted him on weapons offenses.
As the foreman announced the "not guilty" verdict on first-degree murder, a male cousin of victim Robert Pierson, 17 (pictured right), muttered, "F---ing...," as he sat in the gallery.
McCall, standing at the defense table, smiled.
When the foreman again announced "not guilty" on third-degree murder, Pierson's mother, Patricia Rounds, began sobbing aloud.
McCall's aunt, Karen McCall, arrived in the courtroom just after the verdicts were read. When told of the outcomes, she pumped her hands upward and mouthed, "Yes!"
Pierson's death - and now, the verdicts - has sparked racial anger among Pierson's family, who is white. McCall was among six African-American teens, then aged 13 to 16, who came from North Philly into the Art Museum neighborhood March 23, 2006, with the intention of beating and robbing white people, according to the teens' testimonies.