Jury finds man guilty of murder in Phoenix park shooting

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Brandon Roberts By Natalie Flanzer Brandon Roberts By Natalie Flanzer

PHOENIX -- A 19-year-old man faces a possible term of life in prison after being found guilty in the shooting death of a 78-year-old man who was taking his nightly walk through a Phoenix park nearly two years ago.

After deliberating for less than two hours, a Maricopa County jury found Brandon Martin Roberts guilty of first-degree murder. Roberts was also convicted of attempted armed robbery and possessing a firearm as a minor. 

Roberts is scheduled to be sentenced on May 3.

Milton Raffle was found unconscious and unresponsive in a park near 24th Avenue and Cactus Road on July 19, 2011. He later died at a hospital, surrounded by his wife, four sons and one of his grandchildren.

Roberts and co-defendant Nadeem Alferikh claimed Roberts shot Raffle in self-defense. They admitted to patting down the victim's pockets after the shooting to find anything of value.

Police learned the gun had been stolen from a nearby home several days earlier and found it dismantled in the attic of Roberts' house during the execution of a search warrant.

"With this verdict, the citizens of Maricopa County have appropriately held a criminal accountable for taking an innocent life and causing untold grief to a family in our community," said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.  "We will not tolerate this type of senseless violence and baseless claims of self-defense will not shield the guilty."

On Jan. 29, Alferikh pleaded guilty to manslaughter and is serving 14 years in prison.