Christopher Canon was just 15 years old when he pulled a gun and shot another teen at the Metreon mall in downtown San Francisco, and now, nearly four years later, is facing life in prison after a jury convicted him of second-degree murder Tuesday.
Canon was charged as an adult following his arrest for the Nov. 11, 2007 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Price Jr., of Oakland.
Prosecutors said Canon was mad that Price wasn’t moving fast enough down an escalator outside a video arcade, and repeatedly threatened him, motioning to a hidden gun and yelling “I’ll pop you.”
Price offered to fist fight, but was shot four times. Canon was arrested after leading police on a chase through a nearby Bloomingdale’s.
Canon’s attorney David Simerly argued the killing was self-defense, saying that surveillance video appeared to show Price beginning to lunge at Canon before the shots were fired.
Prosecutors countered that Canon had been the aggressor, and that the killing was first-degree murder. At Canon’s initial trial last year, a jury hung between first- and second-degree murder and a judge declared a mistrial. After a second trial, the new jury concluded Tuesday he was guilty of second-degree murder.
“I don’t think the full enormity of this has sunk in on him,” Simerly said following the verdict. “It’s just astonishing that the jury can look at that (evidence) and say that a 15-year-old could consciously be planning and intending with malice aforethought to take another life.”
Though maintaining his client was innocent, Simerly suggested to the jury the most they could convict him for was manslaughter, or imperfect self-defense. He called the shooting “an ill-considered, rash judgment.”
Simerly maintained that a 15-year-old boy, with a brain still in development, was incapable of being held to the standard of an adult conviction.
“You can’t drive, you can’t smoke, you can’t have sex, but guess what, you get to be a prisoner for the rest of your life,” a disappointed Simerly said.
Canon, who turned 19 on May 21, now faces 40 years to life in prison – 15 for the murder, and another 25 for a gun use allegation – at his sentencing July 8.