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Verdict handed down in McLaren trial

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LAWTON, Okla_There was a guilty verdict Friday for a Fort Sill soldier accused in a home invasion case. Kevon McLaren was convicted on all 15 counts he faced, including shooting with intent to kill, robbery and kidnapping, McLaren was identified as the triggerman in the crime. Three men broke into an apartment last year, tied up six people and shot four of them. Judge Allen McCall handed down the verdict this morning after hearing two days of testimony. McLaren had waived his right to a jury trial. Now, it will be up to McCall to determine the sentence, which could be life in prison.

Both attorneys in the case said they were not surprised by the verdict. During two days of testimony, the judge heard from the alleged victims, and McLaren himself, and the evidence against him was overwhelming.

Defense attorney Don Gutteridge said it was a tough case, but he's not shocked.

"I mean the judge said it best, it was pretty much a slam dunk. The witnesses clearly identified him, in fact, everybody, all the victims identified him."

In announcing his verdict, McCall said the victims watched McLaren pull the trigger at least a dozen times, as he tried to kill one of his captives. But the defense disputed that in vain claiming he had some dental work done and was on oxycontin at the time of the incident.

"Basically he was telling the psychiatrist that he blacked out and didn't realize that he was shooting or had shot anybody."

But the judge did not buy that excuse and neither did Assistant District Attorney Eddie Valdez.

"He has some pretty serious charges. When you have four people get shot, especially two people shot in the head, it's quite clear he intended on trying to kill these people."

McLaren does not have any prior felony convictions, but Gutteridge would not speculate on how that might impact the judge's sentencing decision. 

"I don't know what Judge McCall will do. Hopefully he will make some of these 15 counts concurrent, he could run them all consecutively and he could get up to, I don't know how many years consecutive."

"I'm happy to get McLaren off the streets, I wish we had gotten the guns off the street, but apparently we still have two guns out there that we have not recovered that was involved in the shooting, I'd be a lot happier if we had those two guns," Valdez said.

Judge McCall set the sentencing announcement for November 27th.  Because most of the counts are violent crimes, McLaren must serve at least 85 percent of whatever sentence the judge hands down.

The other two soldiers accused in this crime, Claude Byrd and Richard Daly, are still behind bars. Byrd's trial is scheduled to begin Monday morning.

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