A Prince George's County Circuit Court jury that deliberated more than 10 hours over two days found Kenneth Guinyard guilty yesterday of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of a man in the parking lot of Iverson Mall.
The jury also found that Guinyard, 24, of 4654 Hayes St. NE, was the "principal" or the man who did the shooting last November. Rolf Richard Seiferth, 18, of Camp Springs, was killed in the robbery attempt.
A second man charged in the shooting, Charles W. Wade Jr., pleaded guilty to first degree murder, but police and prosecutors alleged that Wade provided the gun and Guinyard did the shooting.
Assistant State's Attorney Robert Harvey, who said he was "pleased" with the verdict, said he will seek the death penalty when Guinyard is sentenced Dec. 10.
The jury also found Guinyard guilty of three counts of attempted kidnaping, three counts of attempted armed robbery and use of a handgun in commission of a crime.
Guinyard sat impassively as the litany of verdicts was read. About 10 feet behind him in the crowded courtoom, however, tears streamed down the faces of Seiferth's mother and his fiance, Kristin Lowe, who was with Seiferth when he was shot.
"I'm glad he was convicted," said Seiferth's fiance, Kristin Lowe, 18. "I hope they sock it to him when they sentence him. He deserves whatever he gets."
Defense attorney Malcolm Houston said that he was "appalled" and "totally surprised" at the verdict and that he will appeal. Houston had argued during the nine-day trial that Wade shot Seiferth. Wade, 24, of 1318 Dunbar Court, Capitol Heights, has denied that he did the shooting. He has not yet been sentenced.
Lowe and her mother, Jean Lowe, identified Guinyard as the gunman to police minutes after the shooting and again in court, and testified that they never saw Wade, but Houston questioned the certainty of their identification.
"This thing took about 20 seconds in a dark parking lot," he said after the trial. "They saw a black man with a tan coat and glasses. A few minutes later, they saw a black man with a tan coat and glasses in police custody, and then they said. 'That's the man.' "
Kristin Lowe, however, said after the trial, "I always knew who did it. When you see someone with a gun staring you in the face, you're going to remember it for the rest of your life."
If Guinyard were the gunman, asked Houston, "Why did Wade plead guilty?"
Wade pleaded guilty, said prosecutor Harvey, "because he is guilty. He aided and assisted in the crime and provided the gun . . . . But he wasn't the trigger man."
Without the eyewitness identifications of Guinyard, Harvey acknowledged, "the evidence points toward Wade, but these women were absolutely certain . . . ."
Houston asserted during the trial that Wade's motive was a drug deal that went bad. He noted that an autopsy found traces of the drugs PCP and marijuana in Seiferth's body.
Seiferth's father, Frank Knoell, angrily denied the claim that the incident was drug-related.