Tampa, Florida – It was an argument back in 2010 that started over whether a teenager could skateboard on a basketball court. It ended with 41-year-old David James dead and the man who shot him, 71-year-old Trevor Dooley, found guilty of manslaughter.
Dooley showed no reaction when the jury’s unanimous decision was read. It took the jury of 6 about an hour and 40 minutes to hand down their decision. Dooley’s wife collapsed into tears while the wife of the victim cried as well.
Dooley, who is free on bond, seemed to want to get something off his chest afterward. He said, “Alright, I will say something and I haven’t said this for a very long time. Do you really think if it was the other way around and the skin color was different, we would be here today? We wouldn’t.”
The 71-year-old part time bus driver says if James had been black and he’d been white – things would have been different.
Earlier in the day he took to the stand to tell the jury his side of the story. Dooley says he argued with Air Force veteran, David James, over a skateboarder who was practicing on the same basketball court where James was playing with his daughter, Danielle.
Dooley told the skateboarder to get off the court because it had “just been resurfaced and cost a lot of money” but he says James defended the teen and tempers flared so much that the two started wrestling.
He says James, who is twice his size, eventually started to choke him and he shot him in self defense. Dooley says, “He brought it on himself. I tried to go home. I walked away.”
James’ wife Kanina says she thought Dooley might be acquitted.
Her daughter Danielle testified for the defense during the trial. She said her father did go after Dooley and that Dooley didn’t want to fight and turned his back to walk home.
Her mother adds, “It breaks my heart that my daughter .. that my daughter has to grow up without her best friend.”
Trevor Dooley faces up to 30 years in prison. He will be sentenced on Jan. 10th.
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