The Massachusetts Appeals Court today upheld Jamel Bannister's second-degree murder conviction for the 2013 murder of Courtney Jackson at the Dudley Square bus station, saying it found no mistakes in the way Bannister was tried and convicted.
The ruling means Bannister will continue to serve a life sentence, but with the possibility of parole.
In 2015, a Suffolk Superior Court jury convicted Bannister for his role in Jackson's death, which authorities say was part of a long running feud between the Lenox Street gang, which Jackson was affiliated with, and the Castle Square and Tent City gangs, which Bannister was affiliated with. Brian Cooper, who actually fired the shots that killed Jackson, had earlier pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
The feud may have led to the murder of Bannister's younger brother, Jamal, last year.
According to today's court ruling, Bannister had a particular beef with Jackson beyond the gang rivalry - the two had had fist fights while in jail in 2008 and 2009. The ruling describes the murder, and why Bannister was charged even though he did not fire a shot:
Around 9:48 P.M. on February 28, 2013, the defendant and Cooper approached the victim on a bus platform at the Dudley Street MBTA station (bus station). Video surveillance from the MBTA's cameras shows the defendant and Cooper walking side-by-side onto the platform. They stopped and engaged the victim in conversation. Moments later, as the victim walked away and began to board a bus, the defendant and Cooper each pulled a hand from his pocket, raised an arm, and stepped toward the victim. Cooper fired two shots into the victim's back while the defendant, standing behind Cooper, lowered his arm to his side. The defendant and Cooper then turned and ran from the station toward Washington Street. A witness saw the defendant put a gun into his pocket as he ran. The victim collapsed in the bus and later died from his injuries. ...
Although it is undisputed that the defendant did not shoot the victim, the jury could reasonably infer that the defendant intended to inflict injury on the victim from the surveillance video, which shows him removing his hand from his pocket, raising his arm in the direction of the victim, and stepping forward. The defendant then lowered his arm as Cooper fired two shots. In addition, an eyewitness reported that after the shots were fired, he saw the defendant put a gun into his pocket. This evidence was sufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant shared the intent to shoot the victim.