Trial begins for man charged in teen's beating death

March 24, 2011 4:02:33 AM PDT
The trial is under way for one of four people charged as adults in the 2009 beating death of high school honor student Derrion Albert.

On September 24, 2009 police were called to a street fight not far from Fenger High School. Albert, who was a junior at the school, was killed as the result of injuries he suffered that day.

The attack was captured on a cell phone video camera and brought national attention to teenaged victims of violence.

Silvonis Shannon was charged with murder as were four other young men.

T-Awannda Piper testified she saw two groups approaching each other and several acts of violence upon Albert. Piper testified she watched from the center where she worked, eventually pulling Albert out of the street.

Piper tearfully testified that as Albert sat with his arm over his ear "another young man came over and kicked him. He fell kind of back. Another young man came over and hit him with a board. They were kicking him. He was just laying."

Prosecutor contend Shannon kicks contributed to Albert's death.

Shannon's attorney says other people caused Albert's death and that Shannon barely grazed Albert.

Two friends of Shannon, who graduated from Fenger the year before, say Shannon is not responsible for Albert's death.

"I feel like he is innocent. I felt like he shouldn't be charged with murder. He should be charged with mob action, nothing like that," Michael Simms told ABC7 Chicago.

"He was simply defending himself. He was around a crowd of students who was hitting him in the head with boards and fists, bottles, kicks and he was simply defending himself. He didn't throw a punch until he was provoked," said Kenneth Franklin.

Jurors also heard from the assistant medical examiner who testified that Albert died from bleeding and swelling on the brain that was caused by blunt-force trauma.

Albert's relatives were in court Monday.

The judge warned jurors to be prepared to deliberate on Tuesday.

A juvenile who was charged with murder in the case was convicted last month. In that case the jurors only deliberated for 35 minutes.