Charles Bryant, 17, of Rosedale was found guilty on all of the charges brought against him, including murder, robbery and tampering with evidence after an emotional two-week long trial in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens before Judge Robert Hanophy. A jury of three women and nine men handed down the verdict. "The victim, 18-year-old Huang Chen, was the hope and pride of the Chen family, who have been shattered by their terrible loss," Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Wednesday after the decision. "I hope that the Chen family, with whom I met this morning following the jury's verdict, find some degree of solace in today's conviction and in the knowledge that the defendant will be sent to prison for a long time as punishment for his actions."Bryant's mother could be seen breaking down in sobs in the courthouse parking lot. Defense attorney Brian Perskin said he was planning to appeal the decision but refused further comment.Chen's older sister, Yvonne Chen, praised the jury's verdict."Today justice has been served," she said. "The process has been a long one, but we are pleased with the result so far, and expect the same result for the next defendant. Today's result will help us move on."Bryan was charged along with Naquan Miller, 17, of Rochdale Village in the February 2004 slaying of Chen, who was 18 at the time of his murder. Miller's trial is expected to start soonThe Rosedale teen faces 50 years to life in prison when he is sentenced. Prosecutors contended an order for Chinese food from the Chen family's Ming Garden Restaurant was called in to be delivered to Miller's apartment, where the pair along with a third teen who has not been charged lay in wait before attacking Chen, beating him with a bat and hammer and stabbing him with a knife before disposing of his body in a nearby park. A spokesman for the district attorney's office said the third teen suspected of being involved is the subject of an investigation. Chen's family sat silently in the courtroom every day of the trial of one of the accused killers of the teen, who lived in Woodside.But during emotional closing arguments Monday in court, they could stifle their tears no longer."This is what they did to him," said Assistant District Attorney Brad Leventhal as he showed the jury the graphic autopsy photograph of Chen.As Leventhal swung around to look at accused killer Charles Bryant, the large photo in his hand followed and could be seen by the family, who broke down and could be heard weeping in the small courtroom.Leventhal went over nearly every piece of key evidence in his two-hour closing argument and brought out the baseball bat and hammer allegedly used in the murder, laying them in from of the jury."The word 'overwhelming' doesn't do it justice," said Leventhal referring to the amount of evidence he said proves Bryant is a killer. "They intended to cause his death."For Perskin it was an uphill battle to explain to the jury how his client was not guilty in light of two separate signed confessions and DNA evidence from Chen that was found on a boot belonging to Bryant. His key words were "that's reasonable doubt," which he used to punctuate every point. Perskin reminded the jury of Bryant's testimony in which he said he was forced to sign a confession and later write another one that was dictated to him by Detective William Hendrickson of the 11th Precinct. He also pointed to Hendrickson's testimony, who said his partner, Detective Kevin Koenderman, had left the room during the interrogation, and Koenderman's conflicting testimony in which he indicated he never left the room. "That's reasonable doubt," said Perskin.He also said there were many key pieces of evidence that were never tested for DNA traces because the results would show his client was innocent, such as clothing from Bryant's home and his cell phone."It's easier to deceive you if they don't test it," Perskin told the jury. "That's reasonable doubt." Reach reporter Peter A. Sutters Jr. by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300 Ext. 173.
©2005 Community News Group
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