Widower: Guilty Verdict "A Blessing" - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/13/05

Widower: Guilty Verdict "A Blessing"

Yesterday, the jury found Kareem Petty, 17, guilty on three different charges, including Gloria Peloquin's murder. They convicted Petty of attacking Peloquin last April in the middle of a busy parking lot at Waters Avenue and Montgomery Cross Road in broad daylight.

The Peloquins were relieved with the outcome. We saw them outside the courthouse in tears, calling all sorts of friends and family members to deliver the news.

As the first five charges against Petty came back not guilty, the Peloquin family started to worry. Then came the one they were waiting for. "Count six. Felony murder. We the jury find the defendant guilty."

"Gloria kept saying in my head 'justice will be done,'" widower Leo Peloquin told us. "And I kept thinking, 'It don't look like that right now,' but it was truly a blessing for us."

It was a verdict that seemed to be a long time coming. The jury deliberated for a day and a half, and often seemed like it might not make up its mind.

"They kept going in, coming out, going in, coming out, and having us come in," recalled Leo.

In fact, that's one aspect the defense thinks may help during the appeal. One of the strange actions by jurors was to note that some of their decisions on both guilty and not guilty findings were based on the confession.

"They might have been unanimous on doing it that way, but I'm not convinced they were unanimous on finding him guilty or not guilty, when they wrote something conditional on the verdict form," said defense lawyer Michael Schiavone. "And of course, that's something for appeal to the Supreme Court of Georgia."

Schiavone says they will definitely be filing an appeal.

After the verdict, Kareem Petty was sentenced to life in prison plus five years and another 20 years for aggravated assault.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite, ccowperthwaite@wtoc.com

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