ATLANTA, March 10 (UPI) -- The family of slain Fulton County Sheriff's Deputy Ricky Kinchen was pleased with the guilty verdicts, while supporters of Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin immediately began gearing up for a long appeals process.
Al-Amin, the Muslim cleric once known as the black militant H. Rap Brown, was convicted Saturday of killing Kinchen and wounding his partner, Deputy Aldranon English two years ago.
The same jury that convicted Al-Amin will begin hearing evidence on Monday on whether he should be given the death penalty, or should send much or all of his life in prison.
"This verdict moves us closer to closure for our family," Carol Morris, the 41-year-old sister of the slain deputy told Sunday's edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "We have put our life on hold for two year and now we can start to move on."
After about 10 hours of deliberations over two days, a predominantly black jury convicted Al-Amin of all of the 13 counts, including murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and obstruction of a law enforcement officer.
The jury decided that Al-Amin, 58, shot Kinchen and wounded English as they tried to serve a warrant on him for failing to appear in court on an unrelated felony charge on March 16, 2000.
Al-Amin did not take the stand in his own defense during the three-week trial in Fulton County Superior Court. The jury included nine blacks, two whites and one Hispanic.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys declined to comment on the verdict, citing a gag order the judge has issued in the case.
English's widow and mother are expected to testify during the sentencing phase.
In Washington, the National Support Committee for Imam Jamil Al-Amin issued a statement attacking the verdict.
"We do not believe the facts presented in court warranted a guilty verdict against Imam Jamil. His defense team offered credible evidence indicating that he was not the person who shot the deputies. We believe Imam Jamil will be exonerated on appeal," the statement said.
Al-Amin's brother, Ed Brown, told the Journal-Constitution that he is ready for next week's fight, and whatever the outcome, expects a long battle of legal appeals.
Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin said she was "saddened by the conviction."
English, who survived his wounds, identified Al-Amin as the man who shot him and killed his partner. Al-Amin was arrested in the Alabama hamlet of White Hall four days after the shooting. Prosecutors said bullets found in Al-Amin's black Mercedes-Benz in Alabama were linked to the deputies' handguns.
Defense attorneys presented witnesses who suggested that someone other than Al-Amin fired at the deputies on a southwest Atlanta street.