Crime

Self-described ‘hustler’ can’t sway jury, gets convicted of pawnshop murder

Stevenson Charles, flanked by lawyers Melissa Ortiz and Terry Lenamon, in Miami-Dade court during his trial for murder. On Thursday, a jury convicted Charles of the 2008 slaying of North Miami pawnshop owner Marty Sprung.
Stevenson Charles, flanked by lawyers Melissa Ortiz and Terry Lenamon, in Miami-Dade court during his trial for murder. On Thursday, a jury convicted Charles of the 2008 slaying of North Miami pawnshop owner Marty Sprung. David Ovalle

Accused of murdering a North Miami pawnshop owner, Stevenson Charles took the witness stand in his own defense and boasted that he was a “hustler” on the streets.

The jury, however, didn’t buy the hustle.

After more than a day of deliberations, jurors on Thursday convicted Charles for the murder of Marty Sprung, who was shot to death inside AAA Pawnbrokers of North Miami in November 2008. Charles, 35, now a 10-time convicted felon, was immediately sentenced to life in prison.

“The jury got it right,” said Miami-Dade prosecutor Christine Hernandez-Baldwin. “Stevenson Charles will never be able to hurt anybody again.”

Prosecutors said that Charles shot and killed Sprung, 65, who was well-known in North Miami, before stealing the man’s gun and car. Charles was later found with Sprung’s stolen weapon, and a piece of paper with his fingerprint was found under the dead man’s body.

Charles’ girlfriend, Passion Carr, was there, too, and ultimately pleaded guilty to helping Charles escape the crime scene.

Carr was the star witness — although Charles testified that she was the one who pulled the trigger. Jurors didn’t buy it.

The verdict concluded a case that had a long and troubled history in Miami-Dade circuit court.

Soon after Carr was arrested in 2008, the case’s former prosecutor, without telling his supervisors or Sprung’s family, dropped the case against her, intending to use her as a witness. The decision rankled supervisors, who later secured an indictment against Carr, who was re-arrested.

In the end, Carr served five years in prison and testified against Charles.

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