February 1st, 2000
A 22-year-old man on trial for a shooting in a Montbello home that left three men dead and two others wounded was found guilty Thursday of two counts of second-degree murder and single counts of attempted manslaughter and first-degree assault. Kareem Stevenson was tried on 14 counts in connection with the February 2000 shooting at 13135 E. 55th Ave. in the far northeast Denver neighborhood. He will be sentenced on May 3. Killed were Percy Thompson Sr., 43; his son Percy Jr., 18; and Clarence Blaine, 25. Injured were Clarence Brown, then 45, and Robert D. Curry, then 44. Authorities said that Stevenson and Chad Garcia, also 22, interrupted a dominoes game in the basement of the Thompsons' home. Garcia had a brief conversation with one of the victims regarding drugs, then opened fire, authorities said. Defense attorneys argued that Stevenson feared for his life and shot his way out of the house in panic. Prosecutors said the shootings were done methodically, in cold blood. Stevenson was found guilty of second-degree murder in the killings of the Thompsons and of attempted manslaughter and first-degree assault in the shooting of Brown. He was found not guilty in Blaine's murder and the shooting of Curry. Blaine's uncle, the Rev. Leon Kelly, an anti-gang activist, expressed frustration about the verdict following the weeklong trial. "There are some things I don't understand," Kelly said. "Certainly, we are surprised." Stevenson, sitting between his lawyers, Frank Moya and Reid Neureiter, took the verdict stoicly. "I can't ever say I'm happy with a verdict when my client is convicted of two counts of second-degree murder," Moya said. "I can say I'm grateful that the jury was able to look beyond the bloody photographs and make a difficult decision." The jury of seven women and five men filed into the courtroom about 5:15 p.m., but Denver District Judge Joseph Meyer Jr. discovered the verdict forms hadn't been completed properly and sent the jurors back into the jury room to make corrections. Moya talked quietly with Stevenson during the short wait for the jury to return. Kelly said the family will now focus its energy on the trial of Garcia, whom he believes fired the bullets into Blaine. That trial, Kelly said, will have a greater impact on him. "There are a lot of things any kid can do that I don't agree with, but I do understand it," said Kelly. "My heart goes out to this kid (Stevenson)," Kelly added. "My perspective is a little different for the case coming up."