Williams man convicted of murder in teenager's death

John A. Willis

John A. Willis

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by The Associated Press

azfamily.com

Posted on April 10, 2014 at 10:39 AM

Updated Sunday, Apr 13 at 11:46 AM

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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) -- A Coconino County Superior Court jury has convicted a Williams man of first-degree murder in a killing that prosecutors said was retaliation for a burglary.

The Arizona Daily Sun reports that 54-year-old John A. Willis also was convicted Wednesday of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The body of 17-year-old Manuel Navallez was found near Ash Fork in May 2013. He was shot once in the back of the head.

Prosecutors contended that the killing was revenge because the teenager and two friends had broken into a home of friends of Willis and stolen jewelry so they could buy marijuana.

The defense contended that Willis was an innocent man being prosecuted with flimsy evidence and contradictory statements by a key prosecution witness.

A sentencing date has not been set.

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