A North Miami man is facing the death penalty after a jury on Friday convicted him of taking part in a murder spree by a notorious street gang known as the Terrorist Boyz.
Jurors convicted Frantyz Jean-Marie, 35, after nearly seven weeks of trial testimony from police detectives, eyewitnesses and former gang members turned state witnesses.
He was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, and acquitted of two others. Jean-Marie was also convicted of four counts of attempted murder, plus conspiracy and racketeering. The verdict was announced under heavy security.
The same 12-person jury will reconvene in the coming months and will be asked to decide if Jean-Marie should be put to death, or face life in prison. Under recently enacted Florida law, jurors must be unanimous in imposing the death penalty.
The other Terrorist Boyz indicted in 2008 were Johnny Charles, also known as the ''Angel of Death,'' and Benson Cadet, Max Daniel, Robert St. Germain and Jean-Marie. St. Germain pleaded guilty two years ago and agreed to a 12-year prison sentence. The others are awaiting trial.
The long-running case was mired in legal wrangling for years, and with so many defendants and lawyers involved, it became the most expensive death-penalty case for taxpayers in recent history.
Over the weeks, prosecutors outlined the rise of the gang, which culminated in months of violence that rocked North Miami-Dade in 2002. In all, detectives believe, the Terrorist Boyz gang was responsible for at least 12 killings and dozens of shootings, although gang members have been charged in only nine murders.
Among those killed: a man the gang suspected of urinating on the flowers on the grave of one gang member's murdered brother; a 13-year-old boy shot dead while riding his bicycle home; and Gertrude LeFleur, a pregnant woman who identified the gang's ringleader as the man who robbed her.
"Twenty-four crime scenes ... some of the most violent murders imaginable," prosecutor Joshua Weintraub told jurors during closing arguments on Monday.
Defense attorneys sought to shift the blame to the gang members who flipped against Jean-Marie.
Jurors acquitted Jean-Marie of involvement in the separate murders of LeFleur, and Will Davis, who was gunned down as he walked out of Jumbo's Restaurant in October 2002.
The jury convicted Jean-Marie of the March 2003 murders of Armstrong Riviere and Stephanie Adams, who were shot dead while standing at 15768 NW Seventh Ave. Riviere was a witness in a gun case against three gang members. Adams was simply with him that day. Before shooting, the gunmen flashed their high beams, parked their car and emerged from the vehicle.