Eric McLean found guilty of reckless homicide

Eric McLean found guilty of reckless homicide

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Eric McLean and his attorney, Bruce Poston, react to the verdict. Eric McLean and his attorney, Bruce Poston, react to the verdict.

By HANA KIM
Good Morning Tennessee Reporter

KNOXVILE (WATE) -- The jury found Eric McLean guilty of the lesser charge of reckless homicide in the fatal shooting of his wife's teen lover and former student, in March 2007.

Their decision came after about 11-and-a-half hours of deliberating over two days.

Eric McLean, 33, was charged with first degree murder for the shooting of Sean Powell, 18.

Eric was found not guilty of first or second degree murder, as well as voluntary manslaughter.

He faces between two to four years in prison, but he's eligible for probation and no prison time since he doesn't have a prior record.

He'll remain free on bond until his sentencing on November 7 and his defense attorney, Bruce Poston, says they will seek probation.

McLean and attorney describe their relief

"I was physically ill when court first started," Eric said after the verdict. "Once I got that off my chest, I felt like a big weight had been lifted off me."

When asked how he felt afterward, Eric said, "I'm just shaken. I don't know. I mean, I feel hopeful and I feel hopeful again for my children that they can have a good life," Eric added.

"I was scared all the way," said his attorney, Bruce Poston. "But then I thought Eric was magnificent in showing who he is. I mean, that's Eric. You can't fake that. And we thought the trial went well and we began to hope last night that maybe it would go lower than voluntary (manslaughter).

When Eric was asked if there was anything he'd like to say to his ex-wife, Erin, he said, "No."

Looking at Eric, Poston added, "If you do, I'll kick your butt."

Powell's mother says "no justice"

Sean Powell's biological mother, Debra Flynn, was in tears outside the courtroom after the verdict.

"My son has no justice. There's no justice for my son, Sean. He was murdered in cold blood, and I have a petition going around for teachers, for ethics and morals. There's no justice in this damn cause. He shot my son in the face," Flynn said.

Flynn also says she has a petition going in support of ethics for teachers. 

Prosecution says "tried best case we had"

"I think that we tried the best case that we had," said Assistant District Attorney General Bill Crabtree. "If we had to start trying this case again tomorrow, I don't know anything I would have done differently."

However, Crabtree agreed with the defense that Eric taking the stand helped his case.

Jury's questions for Judge Leibowitz

The jury asked Judge Mary Beth Leibowitz five questions since they started deliberating.

Early Thursday afternoon, they asked if they could discuss the parameters of a lesser charge, even if they hadn't come to a decision on a greater charge? Judge Leibowitz said yes.

A question Thursday morning and the last question Wednesday night weren't released.

About an hour and 15 minutes after deliberations began, the jury asked if they have to come to a unanimous decision to convict on lesser charges. The judge said they did.

Around two-and-half hours into deliberations, they asked to dry fire the .30 caliber hunting rifle used in the shooting. That request was granted after attorneys for both sides agreed.

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