D.C. man convicted in honor-student’s killing

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A 20-year-old District man has been convicted of first-degree murder for the shooting death of a 17-year-old honor roll student who was walking back to his Northeast home with a friend last year after a brief jaunt for cigarettes, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

A jury on Friday also found Kwan Kearney guilty of intent to kill while armed, aggravated assault while armed and a firearms offense for the Nov. 8, 2010, confrontation that left Joseph Sharps Jr. dead and his friend wounded in the leg.

He faces life in prison at his sentencing, scheduled for Feb. 10.

Kearney, from the Trinidad section of Northeast, was a ward of the Division of Youth Rehabilitation Services at the time and still faces trial in March for the shooting death in Northwest of a another teenager just six days after the Sharps incident. Kearney’s brother, 22-year-old Eric Kearney, was fatally shot in Northeast in October.

Prosecutors say Sharps had one hand in his pocket and the other on his cell phone as he and a friend walked by Kearney and two other men on Holbrook Street in Northeast at about 8:30 p.m.

Sharps had just finished his music homework and borrowed $2 from his mother for the run to the nearby station, according to the U.S. Attorney.

As they passed, Kearney bumped Sharps and asked why he was “Pump fakin’,” but Sharps denied he was reaching for anything in his pocket and then shrugged in confusion, the U.S. Attorney said.

Kearney pulled a Colt .38-caliber revolver from his waistband and shot Joseph in the stomach, leg and shoulder, while Sharps‘ friend was shot in the leg, the U.S. Attorney said. One of Kearney’s associates also fired a gun.

Prosecutors say Sharps called 911 and said, “I’m hit, I’m down on Holbrook,” but bled to death on the scene. Sharpes, a varsity athlete at Springarn High School, had never met Kearney before that night, prosecutors said.

Kearney fled with his fellow assailants but he was arrested eight days later, the U.S. Attorney said. One of his co-defendants pled guilty to charges stemming from the incident.

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