Syracuse jury finds Saquan Evans guilty of murdering toddler

The jury found Saquan Evans guilty of second degree murder in the death of 20-month-old Rashaad Walker, Jr.

Evans is charged with murder in the death of 20-month-old Rashaad Walker, Jr. Prosecutors have said Walker was killed in a gang retaliation shooting, and his father was the intended target. The defense claims another man, Carlton Morman, actually pulled the trigger.

Police say Evans is a member of the

Bricktown Gang

and was searching for someone from the rival 110 Gang the night of the shooting. Police say on November 28, 2010, Evans fired a weapon into a minivan holding Walker, his parents, and other passengers on Coolidge Avenue in Syracuse. Several bullets struck the toddler and killed him.

Rashad Walker Jr's mother, Kamika Alexander did not talk to reporters after the verdict. A friend spoke for her saying, "She's happy, she's happy, that's what she wants to say." Evans' mother left the court in tears, saying "I love my son."

Bill Fitzpatrick said, "It was the right verdict very very sad case. Tells us a lot about ourselves as a community. I think we need to address some of the (gang) issues raised during this trial."

Both sides wrapped up closing arguments in Onondaga County Court

on Friday morning but the
jury did not reach a verdict. The jury was in deliberations again Monday morning in the case of the toddler's murder.

On Monday, the jurors asked for a read back of the testimony of Rashaad Walker Senior who prosecutors say was the intended target of Saquan Evans. In the testimony Walker said he did not identify Evans as the shooter and told police it could have been Carlton Morman, but was not sure.

The jury also asked Judge John Brunetti to instruct them on how much weight they should give to the testimony of an accomplice. Brunetti instructed the jury that the testimony of an accomplice must be backed by corroborating evidence.

The prosecution's star witness, Dasean Maddox, testified he drove Evans to the murder scene and witnessed him shoot at the van. Evans' defense attorney says Maddox should have been considered an accomplice and sees that as possible grounds for an appeal.

Defense Attorney Ed Klein said, "I had asked the judge for instructions on Mr. Maddox being an accomplice as a matter of law and instead the judge said let the jury decide that and that may be a legal issue for appeal."

Maddox has not been charged in connection with the murder.

The trial was scheduled for last June, but was delayed after Walker and other alleged gang members were indicted on federal racketeering charges.

Evans could face 25 years to life in prison.