Byrd convicted of voluntary manslaughter - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Byrd convicted of voluntary manslaughter

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CHATTANOOGA, TN. (WRCB)  --  The jury deliberated nearly six hours before it convicted Jamaal Byrd of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Terrance Etchison in Feb., 2010.

As a class C felony the sentence carries a minimum of three to six years in the department of corrections.

"I think he's relieved from the stand point it wasn't a harsher verdict but I think he's not relieved from the stand point he's convicted of anything," says Defense Attorney Fred Hanzelik.

However, relieved is exactly how Byrd looked as he and his family left the courtroom Friday. Byrd is free on bond until his sentence hearing in Sept. That's when the judge will decide how his sentence is served.

"We're going to be applying for a suspended sentence and it'd be up to the court to decide that," says Hanzelik.

State prosecutors and Etchison's family tells Channel 3 there's one word to describe it; disappointing.

"Only thing that jury did today was give all the young people that's out there in the streets, that's causing havoc and shooting, killing and robbing, it gave them permission to continue to do that with a slap on the wrist," says John Etchison, Terrance's uncle.

With little or no prior criminal history Byrd is required to serve the minimum sentence, however Etchison's family hopes justice will be served in another way. "Mr. Byrd will have to deal with this for the rest of his life," Etchison says.

Byrd's sentence hearing is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 24.  

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