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Shavonte Thompson found guilty in shooting death of 18-year-old

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The verdict is guilty, at the Shavonte Thompson murder trial. 

A La Crosse County jury announced its decision just before noon today, after about an hour of deliberations.  Thompson will be sentenced early in 2022 for the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Javier Ayers in an alley near Copeland Park on November 2nd, 2019. 

District attorney Tim Gruenke argued to the jury that according to video from the scene, Ayers may have been shot before he knew what was happening. Security video at the crime scene showed two cars driving into an alley, with someone coming out of one of the cars to fire a gun at Ayers, followed by both cars driving away moments later.    

Thompson reportedly shot Ayers to avenge an attack on his own relatives, and some of those family members testified against him in court on Tuesday, identifying him as the shooter.

Defense attorney Patrick Flanagan claimed the evidence did not prove Shavonte was the gunman, but Gruenke said Thompson fit the physical appearance of the person who shot Ayers.

The Thompson trial is among a group of local homicide cases which had been delayed in the past two years, because of concerns about conducting a jury trial in a crowded courtroom during the pandemic.    

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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