AKRON, OH (WOIO) - A jury finds 36-year-old Kenan Ivery guilty of aggravated murder and murder of Akron police officer Justin Winebrenner. A packed courtroom, with family of both sides and Akron police officers, listened as the verdict was read.
Officer Winebrenner's father, a retired police officer, was in the courtroom. For him, it was a heart wrenching day.
"Today's his mother's birthday. They're both looking down on us. I think they're happy with the decision. Kenan Ivery won that fight that night, but today we won the battle. I'm very happy with the verdict," said Rob Winebrenner.
It took the Summit County jury two and a half days of deliberations to return the guilty verdict.
Jurors found Ivery guilty of the following charges:
- Aggravated murder – a special felony with a death penalty specification and two firearm specifications
- Two counts of murder - special felonies with firearm specifications
- Two counts of felonious assault – felonies of the first degree with firearm specifications
- Two counts of attempted murder – felonies of the first degree with firearm specifications
- Four counts of felonious assault – felonies of the second degree with firearm specifications
- Having a weapon under disability – a felony of the third degree
- Carrying a concealed weapon – a felony of the fourth degree
- Illegal possession of a firearm in a liquor permit premises – a felony of the third degree
Ivery was not found guilty of tampering with evidence.
Prosecutors say Ivery was thrown out of Papa Don's Pub on East Market Street late Nov. 16, 2014 after complaints of being unruly. He was asked to leave, but later returned with a gun. Winebrenner, who was off duty, was shot when he tried to diffuse an escalating situation.
On the witness stand, Ivery claimed he returned to get his chicken wings he ordered at the bar, not to retaliate. Ivery said he opened fire in self-defense when Winebrenner and several others surrounded him.
Ivery's trial began five weeks ago with the jury getting the case on Oct. 13. Common Pleas Judge Alison McCarty sequestered the jury until they reached a verdict.
"I said from the very beginning I'm gonna let our system decide this. It did. It did well. It didn't fail me. It didn't fail my family. It didn't fail Justin," said Rob Winebrenner.
The jury will begin the sentencing phase on Oct. 20. They will again be sequestered. Potential sentences for aggravated murder are death, life without parole, and life with parole after 20, 25, or 30 years in prison.