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Rohnert Park man guilty of first-degree murder

After less than a full day of deliberations, jurors convicted a 19-year-old Rohnert Park man Monday of first-degree murder in a drug rip-off and fatal shooting in Petaluma in February 2007.

Bradley Blackwell, who was 17 when the killing occurred but prosecuted as an adult, faces a sentence of either 25 years to life in prison or life without parole.

In deliberations of about five hours spread over two days, the 10-woman, two-man panel all agreed Blackwell was guilty of murder.

But they split 7-5 toward guilt on whether Blackwell actually fired the gun that killed 20-year-old Uriel Carreno Feb.7 two years ago in his garage apartment on Joan Drive in east Petaluma.

That charge would have added another 25 years to his sentence.

Blackwell and Keith Kellum, 24, were both charged with Carreno?s murder and were set to be tried together with two separate juries. Both men gave statements to police that blamed the other man for firing the fatal shots.

But the day before the trial was set to begin, Kellum agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder and accept a prison sentence of 15 years to life. In taking the plea deal, Kellum admitted his involvement in court and said Blackwell shot Carreno.

?Me and Mr. Blackwell went to Petaluma to a drug dealer?s house ...? to steal drugs, he said. ?I kicked the door in and Mr. Blackwell shot and killed a man.?

As the trial continued against Blackwell, prosecutors Chuck Arden and Troye Shaffer brought in several witnesses who placed both men at the scene and proved various parts of their actions the day of the killing.

?I think they put the puzzle pieces together,? Arden said of the jury. ?They had a lot of things to consider.?


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