Attorney Steve Townsend represented Deontae Jones in this case and was the only lawyer who successfully argued to have his client’s case decertified back to juvenile court. It took a great amount of effort and time, but as you can see, those efforts paid off.
The incident was a great tragedy, but hopefully it sends a message to others.
Lawrence “Pooh Rat” Reddick Jr. was found guilty Monday morning of first- and second-degree murder, robbery in 2016 Aliquippa double homicide.
BEAVER — The gallery of a Beaver County courtroom maintained a level of stoicism as a jury foreperson rendered its verdict Monday morning, convicting 19-year-old Lawrence “Pooh Rat” Reddick Jr. of first- and second-degree murder.
Some soft cries were heard from members of the victims’ families. Reddick himself showed little emotion as the verdict was read.
Reddick was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of 18-year-old Dane Mathesius, of Brighton and New Sewickley townships, and second-degree murder of William Cade Booher, 16, of Beaver.
He also was found guilty of robbery, conspiracy, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and carrying a firearm without a license.
The jury returned after about 12 hours of deliberations, having worked out a proclaimed “impasse” that was reached Friday afternoon.
At that time, the jury told the court it was “at an 11 to 1 impasse” because one juror was “not following the definition of reasonable doubt.” The jury said the unidentified juror was looking for a 100 percent certainty in determining a verdict.
In response, Beaver County Judge Kim Tesla reread to the jury the definition of what beyond a reasonable doubt means. He sent them back to continue discussions.
Jurors were dismissed at about 5 p.m. Friday and returned at 9 a.m. Monday. The verdict was rendered at about 10 a.m.
The jury foreperson fought tears as the conviction was read. Upon request of the defense, the jurors were polled, each of them agreeing to the conviction.
“There were tears,” District Attorney David Lozier said after the verdict. “The foreman of the jury had difficulty reading the verdict slip. They obviously took this very seriously and have respect for the process.”
He thanked the jury for its time and commitment to the case.
“They came back with a very courageous verdict, a first-degree homicide verdict in this kind of circumstance is hard, it takes a lot of courage for a jury to come back with a first-degree homicide verdict,” Lozier said.
A sentencing date for Reddick has yet to be set. Because he was a juvenile at the time of the homicide, Reddick does not qualify for an automatic sentence of life imprisonment for the conviction of first-degree murder. His sentence will be left to the decision of Tesla, who presided over the trial.
Co-defendant Ronald “Reno” Foster, 19, was tried in August and was found guilty of third-degree murder. He was sentenced to serve between 34 and 70 years in prison.
Deontae Jones, 19, who testified in the case, also was charged in the shooting. He pleaded to a count of conspiracy to commit robbery in juvenile court and is awaiting sentencing.
All three teens were 17 years old at the time of the incident.
Lozier said the double homicide impacted families across Beaver County, including the families of the three defendants.
“We can’t forget the fact that we have two dead children and a third 13-year-old boy that watched this happen in the car,” he said. “It also impacted the families of Aliquippa. This impacted six families in a devastating way. There are no winners.”
Lozier also said Reddick’s conviction will bring some closure to the families of Mathesius, Booher and the 13-year-old witness, many of whom witnessed the entire Reddick trial, as well as the trial against Foster.
“There were always questions as to whether or not the community would take this loss seriously enough, and I think this verdict answers that question,” Lozier said.