The third of three teens charged last year with a robbery that led to the shooting death of a man outside a Fitchburg apartment building during a marijuana deal was found guilty by a jury Thursday night of felony murder.
The jury of six men and six women deliberated for about four hours before finding that Gary C. Mays Jr., 19, of Sun Prairie, took part in a robbery on March 12, 2018, that led to the shooting death of Julian J. Patterson, 20, in the parking lot of the New Fountains Apartments on Anton Drive in Fitchburg.
Mays had been tried once before in the case, in January, but a mistrial was declared after the jury became deadlocked after deliberations lasting almost nine hours.
Mays was charged with felony murder for taking part in a crime, in this case attempted armed robbery, which led to the death of another person. It was not alleged that he himself killed Patterson. Another teen, Joshua B. McInnis, 19, pleaded guilty about a year ago to first-degree reckless homicide in Patterson’s death and was sentenced in June to 21 years in prison.
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A third man, Travon A. Jackson, now 20, who wasn’t present in Fitchburg but set up the marijuana deal in a series of text messages with a woman who was with Patterson, pleaded guilty last year to being a party to armed robbery and was sentenced to five years in prison.
Sentencing for Mays by Circuit Judge John Hyland will be set at a later date, after the state Department of Corrections completes a pre-sentence investigation.
Attorneys for Mays, state Assistant Public Defenders Diana Van Rybroek and Peter Middleton, contended that Mays only believed that he and McInnis were going to buy marijuana, and that Mays had no idea that McInnis was going to brandish a gun and rob the woman and Patterson. Mays testified on Thursday that his back was turned to McInnis and Patterson when he heard a gunshot and he ran, not knowing whether McInnis had shot a person or into the air, or if Patterson had somehow gotten the gun away from McInnis.
But prosecutors said that stories told to police within hours of the incident by three participants, some who did not know one another, all lined up. McInnis, Jackson and the woman who was with Patterson all said Mays was a participant in the robbery.
Assistant District Attorney William Brown told the jury during his closing argument that Mays, who did not give a statement to police after his arrest, waited until his first trial in January to say what happened, well after he had all of the police reports telling him what the other participants had said. That gave Mays plenty of time to concoct a story that would line up with information he gleaned from those reports, Brown said.