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Former Black Panther sentenced to life

ATLANTA, March 13 (UPI) -- Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, the former 1960s radical known as H. Rap Brown, was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without parole for the killing of a deputy sheriff two years ago.

The jury that convicted the Muslim cleric of 13 counts, including murder, deliberated about five hours before reaching its decision.

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Jurors had the choice of giving Al-Amin the death sentence, or life in prison with parole, or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Stephanie Manis read the verdict, in which jurors concluded that "statutory aggravating circumstances" existed in the case.

Al-Amin, who has been the imam of a community mosque near downtown Atlanta for 20 years, was convicted of killing Fulton County Deputy Ricky Kinchen and wounding his partner, Deputy Aldranon English, as they tried to serve a warrant on him for failing to appear in court on an unrelated felony charge.

The shootings occurred March 16, 2000, in front of a small grocery store Al-Amin operated in Atlanta's West End neighborhood.

During Al-Amin's three-week trial, English identified Al-Amin as the man who shot him and killed his partner.

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In closing arguments in the sentencing phase of the trial, prosecutor Ron Dixon said Al-Amin was ready for a confrontation the night of the "brutal" shootings.

"That night, when he saw these deputies ... he knew that he was going to jail," Dixon said.

Former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, who was once Atlanta's mayor, told jurors on Tuesday that Al-Amin was "a very peaceful man."

"We must devote ourselves to giving life and not let the incidence of violence or hatred take any more from us than it already has," Young told jurors.

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