Teen Found Guilty In Officer's Shooting Death
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Jonathan Belton has been found guilty on all charges in the shooting death of an Oak Park police officer.
Belton, 18, was charged with killing officer Mason Samborski in 2008.
WWJ got the details from legal analyst Charlie Langton, who was in the courtroom as the verdict was read.
“There were four counts — two counts dealing with a gun, and then one count dealing with the murder of a police officer. And, of course, one count premeditated, first degree murder. The jury came back with guilty…all counts, Langton said.
Belton will be sentenced Dec. 14 to mandatory life in prison without parole.
He was 16 when Samborski pulled him over in Oak Park, a few miles north of Detroit. Belton didn’t have a driver’s license, and authorities have said Samborski drove him to a nearby apartment complex with the apparent intention of seeking an adult to take custody of the teen or identify him.
Defense attorney Geoffrey Fieger had argued that Samborski accidentally shot himself during a struggle with Belton.
Prosecutors said Belton took the officer’s gun.
“They got it right,” Ken Samborski, the officer’s father, told reporters after the verdict was read. “It was not an accident. They got it right, and Mason can now rest in peace.”
Samborski’s boss, Public Safety Director John McNeilance, said he is relieved and pleased by the outcome of the trial.
“We obviously wanted Jonathan Belton held responsible for the violent actions and for the murder of Officer Samborski. So, we’re very grateful to the jury for carefully considering the evidence and coming back with a just verdict,” McNeilance said.
McNeilance said Belton left a huge whole in a lot of lives by his violent actions and he’s very relieved the trial is over.
As deputies led him from the Pontiac courtroom, Belton told his mother: “Keep your head up, Momma.” He told other relatives: “I love you all. You stay strong.”
© MMX WWJ Radio, All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.