The Pennsylvania teenager who police say shot his friend and then posed for a selfie while the friend died was convicted on Thursday of a less serious charge.
Maxwell Morton, 18, was convicted of third-degree murder in the shooting of Ryan Mangan, 16, in February 2015.
Thursday, Morton testified that the two were playing with a handgun and he thought it was unloaded when he pointed it at Mangan and pulled the trigger, PEOPLE reports. Morton apparently took the selfie to document the accident after he decided to take his own life.
"I panicked. I had never seen anything like that before. I had never seen someone die like that. At first I ran out, then ran back in there and saw him lying there," Morton said. "I wanted to tell somebody, but at that time I felt empty and had no regards for life. I had no reason to be. I was going to kill myself."
Morton's defense attorney, Pat Thomassey, spoke to WTAE, a local Pennsylvania station, saying, "It was a difficult case because of what he did afterwards, in terms of the selfie and all of the other stuff. I give the jury credit. I think they came to a reasonable conclusion based upon all of the evidence they saw."
A jury rejected the prosecution's argument that Morton intentionally killed Mangan, according to Trib Live.
The lesser conviction spares Morton from a life sentence in prison, although he was also found guilty of possession of a weapon, and was returned to the Westmoreland County Prison in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.
Morton will be sentenced in three months, and faces up to 40 years in prison.0comments
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