CANTON ‒ A jury rejected a self-defense claim and convicted a Canton man of murder for a fatal shooting at a Jackson Township motel parking lot.
Cortez Watson, 37, was found guilty Thursday on all charges, including murder with a firearm specification, felonious assault, having weapons while under disability and tampering with evidence.
Watson was seen on surveillance video removing a firearm from the waistband of his pants and firing at 35-year-old Canton resident Tyrone Barboza on June 26 in the parking lot at the Rodeway Inn in Jackson Township. Watson fled and Barboza was found by a motel employee.
"I'm just happy to obtain justice for Tyrone and his family," said Assistant Stark County Prosecutor Megan Starrett.
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Barboza died from a single gunshot wound to his chest.
Jurors heard two days of testimony in Stark County Common Pleas Court before Judge Frank Forchione.
Forchione ruled witnesses called by the defense could not address Barboza's past "bad behaviors." Prosecutors filed a motion ahead of the trial asking the judge to exclude that testimony.
Defense attorney Samuel Shamansky argued it was necessary to allow the witnesses to share their knowledge of Barboza in order to help prove Watson acted in self-defense as Barboza had previously pulled a gun on Watson.
Forchione ruled witnesses could not discuss Barboza's past but the defendant would be able to tell jurors about his past dealings with Barboza.
According to court officials, Watson is scheduled to be sentenced at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 5.
The murder charge carries a prison term of 15 years to life. Including the other charges, Watson faces a sentence of 24 years to life, meaning he would have to spent at least 24 years in prison before he could be considered for release.
A message seeking comment was left Friday for the defense.
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This article originally appeared on The Independent: Cortez Watson convicted of shooting death of Tyrone Barboza