By: Christian Menno, The Intelligencer
Jaquan Wilkerson, 20, and Dwayne Lynch, 30, were found not guilty of first and third-degree murder in the 2016 shooting death of Robert Colter III in Bristol Borough. Both men were found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
Two men were acquitted of murder charges Wednesday stemming from a fatal Bristol Borough shooting more than three years ago.
After two weeks of testimony and and nearly four days of deliberations, a Bucks County jury found Jaquan Nyzier Wilkerson, 20, and Dwayne J. Lynch, 30, not guilty of first-degree murder, third-degree murder, conspiracy to commit those crimes and related weapons offenses in the shooting death of 20-year-old Robert Colter III who was shot outside his home in 2016.
The men were found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and multiple counts of recklessly endangering another person, all of which are misdemeanors.
Wilkerson’s attorney Niels Eriksen said his client was thrilled with the outcome.
“I think there was doubt all over this case and we are happy that the jury saw the doubt,” he added.
Wilkerson is currently serving up to seven years in state prison for an unrelated armed robbery, Eriksen said.
Both Eriksen and attorney Michael Diamondstein, who represented Lynch, said it seemed apparent the jury did not believe the testimony from 28-year-old Rodney Beaty, who last month pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, conspiracy and related offenses in the case.
Beaty implicated Wilkerson and Lynch in the shooting.
“He was clearly lying,” Eriksen said, adding that the man’s version of events changed several times.
Diamondstein said Lynch was grateful to receive a fair trial and for the jury’s time and effort.
“It was our position that Mr. Beaty is a menace and his testimony was not worthy of belief,” he added.
Court records show Beaty is awaiting sentencing on an unrelated 2017 case after pleading guilty to charges including unlawful possession of a firearm, fleeing police, receiving stolen property, theft and other offenses.
Judge Rea B. Boylan deferred sentencing for Lynch and Wilkerson until pre-sentence investigations can be completed.
Bucks County District Attorney’s Office spokesman James O’Malley said prosecutors would likely offer comment on the case after sentencing is complete.
The case was tried by Deputy District Attorneys Thomas Gannon and David Keightly Jr.
The men face a maximum sentence of four and a half to nine years in prison, according to Eriksen.
Colter’s killing drew hundreds of mourners to a vigil outside his Bath Street home. Family members said he was studying nursing at Bucks County Community College to help support his twin daughters.