WILKES-BARRE — A Hazleton man was convicted of all charges Monday in the August 2012 beating death of another man in the theft of an iPhone.
Breon Judon, 20, was found guilty of second-degree murder, robbery, kidnapping and three counts of criminal conspiracy after a Luzerne County jury deliberated for nearly four hours.
Prosecutors say Judon and Mitchell Dedes, 18, also of Hazleton, robbed 29-year-old Aaron Reznick of a cellphone, ordered him to strip and get into the trunk of his vehicle.
Reznick, a senior chemist at Sanofi Pasteur in Swiftwater, was able to escape the trunk on Carson Street in Hazleton, where prosecutors say Judon and Dedes kicked and stomped on his head repeatedly.
“There is no justice in the justice system, that’s all I’ve got to say,” Judon said Monday evening while leaving the Luzerne County Courthouse on his way to the county prison.
Judon said he’ll be appealing his conviction.
“I’ll be back,” he said.
County Judge Richard Hughes said Judon will be sentenced Dec. 9. He faces life in prison on the second-degree murder charge.
Judon’s attorney, Allyson Kacmarski, argued during her closing argument Monday that she does not deny Judon was there the night Reznick was robbed and assaulted, but that Dedes was the person responsible for Reznick’s death.
Judon has said from the beginning that Dedes was responsible, Kacmarski said, and that the only thing he is guilty of is not calling the police.
Kacmarski suggested it was possible Reznick was injured in the jump from the trunk of his car and that her client had no idea Dedes was planning on robbing Reznick.
After the verdict Monday, Kacmarski said there are a number of factors throughout the trial she intends on bringing up in an appeal.
The prosecution felt the jury reached the right conclusion.
“(The verdict) was a powerful statement by the jury,” said Assistant District Attorney Dan Zola, who prosecuted the case with fellow ADA Mamie Phillips.
Zola said Reznick’s death was a “textbook second-degree murder” case because the killing was committed during the course of another felony — in this case, robbery and kidnapping.
“This was a planned robbery from the beginning,” Zola said.
In his closing argument Monday, Zola said Dedes and Judon knew from the beginning when Reznick approached them about selling his iPhone for crack cocaine that they were going to rob him.
Reznick, being naive and without street smarts, was a “soft target,” Zola said.
Dedes and Judon used Reznick’s car to kidnap him, ordered him to strip to see if he was hiding any money and ordered him into the trunk.
Reznick tried to save his own life, Zola said, by escaping the trunk, only to be kicked repeatedly by the two men.
Zola said Judon denied he had any involvement in the crimes, but in his own words to investigators and others showed he played a part in Reznick’s death — at one point discussing a plea agreement with his father in a recorded conversation from the Luzerne County Correctional Facility.
Judon also had a guilty consciousness, Zola said, because he and the other defendant fled to Wilkes-Barre after beating Reznick. Dedes even went as far as shooting himself in the foot to create an alibi, Zola said.
Dedes has pleaded guilty to related charges, including third-degree murder, and is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday by Hughes.