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Jury finds 17-year-old not guilty of second-degree murder in Lynchburg teen murder case

Austin Rozdilski found guilty of unlawful wounding

LYNCHBURG, Va.UPDATE

On Tuesday night, a jury found 17-year-old Austin Rozdilski not guilty of second-degree murder, not guilty of malicious wounding and not guilty of using a firearm in the commission of a felony. The jury found him guilty of unlawful wounding.

Rozdilksi was charged in connection with a May shooting that left one Lynchburg teen dead and another hurt.

The Commonwealth released the following statement:

ORIGINAL STORY

The case against a 17-year-old charged with killing an E.C. Glass student is nearly in the jury’s hands.

Closing arguments are underway in the case against Austin Rozdilski, who’s charged with second-degree murder, malicious wounding and two counts of using a firearm during the commission of a felony.

In May, Lynchburg police were called to The Meadows apartment complex where they found two E.C. Glass football players who had been shot.

Justin Barnett, 18, survived. Dreyon Browley died at the scene.

Rozdilski took the stand in his defense on Tuesday, providing conflicting testimony to one of his alleged victims.

Here’s Rozdilski’s account of what happened:

  • He went to The Meadows apartment complex in Lynchburg to buy a Glock 19 handgun from Justin Barnett.
  • He and Barnett had been using Snapchat for two days to communicate details about the sale set for May 16.
  • Barnett sent him a picture and video of the gun that he was selling for $450. Their communication indicated the gun had a drum to hold more bullets.
  • Barnett also sent him an address at The Meadows where the two would meet for the sale.
  • He said went through a breezeway to meet Barnett and then the sale happened
  • After the sale, Barnett said that he wanted the gun back to show Rozdilski how it worked.
  • Rozdilski agreed but first required his money back, a condition to which Barnett agreed.
  • While examining the gun, Barnett said that the gun was messing up and he walked away, leaving Rozdilski alone with Dreyon Browley, who was also at the sale.
  • Browley then put the gun he had to Rozdilski’s back and head, having Rozdilski hold his arms up.
  • Browley was apparently trying to push him to where Barnett was.
  • Rozdilski then took out a 9mm gun out of his waist, that he had brought to the sale. It apparently belonged to his mother. He said he shot twice, not seeing where he was aiming, to escape Browley.
  • Barnett then turned, looking shocked, staring at Rozdilski.
  • Rozdilski said he shot Barnett and ran from the scene, heading straight home to tell his mom what happened and then called the police.
  • While running away, Rozdilski said he wasn’t sure what happened to the money he put in his hoodie pocket.

Barnett’s testimony was much different:

  • He said he found a picture of the gun on Google and sent it to Rozdilski.
  • He said he was planning to sell a gun to him, but didn’t have enough time to find a gun.
  • When Rozdilski came to buy the gun, Barnett told him he didn’t have one to sell.
  • Rozdilski and Browley exchanged a few words that Barnett said he couldn’t hear before Browley punched Rozdilski in the jaw.
  • Barnett tried to pull the two apart and then saw Rozdilski pull up his shirt, showing a gun.
  • Bernett then said that Rozdilski shot Browley and as Barnett ran away, he heard two more shots and fell.
  • He said Browley was shot in the buttocks.

A groundskeeper at the apartment complex also took the stand Tuesday for the defense. He testified that he was cleaning near the buildings when Barnett fell in front of him and a gun fell out of his hand. While the groundskeeper was trying to help Barnett, others came up to help and picked up the guns.

Authorities did not find any weapons at the scene of the shooting.

With the presentation of evidence concluded, the jury will have to examine the medical evidence, Barnett’s testimony as well as Rozdilski’s testimony.


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