Capital murder conviction for 1999 Calhoun Co. shooting suspect - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Capital murder conviction for Calhoun County suspect in 1999 shooting

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ANNISTON, Ala. -

A Calhoun County cold case from 1999 closed with a conviction Thursday afternoon.

Jurors found 38-year-old Torrance Perin Vincent guilty on two counts of capital murder.  Vincent shot and killed 20-year-old Prince Damian Wright during the robbery and burglary of Wright's home in Weaver in December 1999.

Wright and five of his friends were playing a game of Dungeons & Dragons when Vincent and two other men entered the house through the back door to steal marijuana and money.  Witnesses said the men wore masks and had guns.

Wright defended himself against Vincent, who fired one shot which traveled through Wright's arm, face and chest.  The medical examiner said Wright bled to death.

"He was in his own home, minding his own business, and he died on the floor of his own home, for a little bit of money," district attorney Brian McVeigh told jurors in his closing arguments.

"It wasn't necessary.  It wasn't justified.  It was not self-defense or accident.  If we don't hold him responsible, what message does it send to this community?  What message does it send to his mother and father?"

One of the other intruders, Bokassa Montgomery entered a guilty plea to felony murder in 2001.  He told police at the time that Vincent was the shooter, but investigators were unable to find another witness to place Vincent at the scene of the crime. 

Weaver police lieutenant Charles Plitt continued to search for leads in the case.  In 2008, a witness told investigators she remembered seeing Vincent bleeding several hours after the shooting.  Police matched Vincent's DNA to blood found on the pants worn by Wright on the day he died.

"It's been a long road but we're happy for the family.  We're happy for the verdict that we've received today.  It's a blessing," Plitt said.

Wright's friends testified the masked burglar who shot Wright removed the victim's wallet from his pants.  Then the three intruders stole money and drugs from the other people playing the game, which Montgomery confirmed in his testimony.

"When you're five guys sitting there, playing a board game, and you're high and you see your friend shot and killed, do you need any more convincing they intend to kill you and you need to comply," assistant district attorney Lynn Hammond asked the jury.

She told them she started working for the district attorney's office five years before the shooting happened.

"It is one that has pended a long time, not only for Mr. and Mrs. Wright, but Chuck Plitt of Weaver.  I remember when it happened.  This deserves justice," Hammond said.

"It has waited a very long time for justice.  It has waited a very long time for attention.  It has waited a very long time for this man to serve his time, to pay his price for taking a life."

The district attorney said he is glad the family has closure after all these years.  McVeigh joined the district attorney's office three months after the shooting, and the case was pending his entire time there.  He became district attorney about two years ago, and said it is a good day to close the case.

"From here I feel like all the pressure is relieved a little bit.  That family can rest throughout this weekend knowing that the person that killed their son will be held accountable," McVeigh said.

The sentencing phase of the trial will begin Monday.  Jurors will hear testimony from witnesses who will ask them to consider the death penalty, or sending Vincent to prison for the rest of his life, without the possibility of parole.

McVeigh said the prosecution does not intend to request a particular sentence.

"We're just asking the jury to make an appropriate decision," he said.

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