Jury Finds Roderick Scott Not Guilty
By: Mike Hedeen
Not guilty: The verdict in the manslaughter trial of Roderick Scott. After more than 19 hours of deliberations over two days, a jury acquitted the man in the shooting death of Christopher Cervini, 17, last April.
Court papers revealed the teenager killed was shot in the back. District Attorney Mike Green confirmed that Christopher Cervini, 17, was shot in the back from about 20 feet away on Baneberry Way in Greece on Saturday, April 4. Another bullet struck Cervini’s hand, went through his chest and out his armpit.
A grand jury on Thursday rejected Roderick Scott’s claim of self-defense, finding enough evidence to send the case to trial. Scott told investigators that Cervini charged him after Cervini and two other teens were confronted about going through a neighbor’s car.
Judge Patricia Marks set bail for Roderick Scott at $25,000 cash, $50,000 bond.
“I just want to say thank you to the people who believed in me, who stood by me,” Scott said following the verdict. “I still have my regrets for the Cervini family; it’s still an unfortunate situation for them. I am happy that at least this chapter is over.”
As deliberations dragged on over two days and the jury asked for testimony to be read back, Scott admits he didn’t know how it would all turn out.
“I was nervous of course,” he said. “You never know what direction this whole thing is going to turn, so I have no idea. But it worked out and I feel that justice (was) served today.”
Cervini’s family members say justice wasn’t served. They say Christopher was murdered in cold blood, that he’d never been in trouble and Scott acted as judge, jury and executioner.
“The message is that we can all go out and get guns and feel anybody that we feel is threatening us and lie about the fact,” said Jim Cervini, Christopher’s father. “My son never threatened anybody. He was a gentle child, his nature was gentle, he was a good person and he was never, ever arrested for anything, and has never been in trouble. He was 16 years and four months old, and he was slaughtered.”
Scott says he acted in self defense when he confronted Cervini and two others saying they were stealing from neighbors cars. He told them he had a gun and ordered them to freeze and wait for police.
Scott says he shot Cervini twice when the victim charged toward him yelling he was going to get Scott.
“How can this happen to a beautiful, sweet child like that?” asked Cervini’s aunt Carol Cervini. “All he wanted to do was go home. And then for them to say, he was saying, ‘Please don’t kill me. I’m just a kid,’ and he just kept on shooting him.”
Scott says the last seven months have been difficult for him and his family. If he could go back to the events in the early morning hours of April 4, there are things he says he would do differently.
“If it meant a person not losing their life, absolutely,” he said. “Would I still have tried to stop what was going on? That I would have done. But if I knew ahead of time that I could do something to help somebody from losing their life, I don’t want anyone to lose their life.”
Scott says the first thing he was going to do was go home and get a good night sleep. When asked if he’ll continue living in his current home, which is just one street away from the Cervini’s, he said “for the time being.”