GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A Kent County jury on Thursday found 34-year-old Willie Bryant guilty of first-degree murder in the 2018 shooting death of a Wyoming store clerk.
Jurors deliberated about 90 minutes before returning verdicts. In addition to first-degree murder, Bryant was convicted of armed robbery and felony use of a firearm.
The victim, 48-year-old Shannon Rozanski-Schoen, was working behind the counter of the Marathon gas station at 28th Street and Buchanan Avenue SW when Bryant entered with a handgun.
Surveillance video played for jurors shows her being shot twice. Rozanski-Schoen died at the scene of the May 21, 2018 shooting.
Bryant left the store empty-handed. He fled with his cousin, 59-year-old Gary Bryant, who served as the getaway driver. Both were arrested at different locations later that day.
Kent County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Monica Janiskee said she was pleased with the verdicts, noting there was ample evidence to convict Bryant of first-degree murder. She called Rozanski-Schoen's death a "cold-blooded execution.''
"She deserves justice,’’ Janiskee said. “We achieved that here today.’’
Defense attorney Michael Anderson, while disappointed with Thursday's verdicts, thanked the panel of eight men and four women for their work.
"The jurors took the time to look at the evidence before making their decision,'' Anderson said. “Obviously, this was a hard-fought case. We disagree with the jury’s decision, but do respect it.’’
Bryant, who has three prior felony convictions, will return to court for sentencing on April 11.
His cousin, meanwhile, will return to Kent County Circuit Court for sentencing next week. Although Gary Bryant was initially charged with felony murder, he was allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for his testimony.
The reduced charge, assault with intent to rob while armed, is punishable by up to life in prison. Felony murder carries a mandatory life term.
Willie Bryant has two other criminal cases pending. Both are for non-fatal shootings in Grand Rapids last spring. He’s been in trouble since his teen years; offenses range from improper driving to drug dealing.
He was released from prison in Oct. 2016 after serving time for receiving and concealing a stolen car. Other convictions include larceny, vandalism, drug possession, use of marijuana and distribution of imitation crack cocaine.
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