2:45 pm

Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese said the jury rejected the defense’s self-defense argument. The defense had argued that Butsitsi was in the apartment building to retrieve his belongings as part of a plan to move out of the apartment he shared with Mulongo. Butsitsi said he started firing when he thought he saw a gun in Mulongo’s hand. Police did not find a gun on Mulongo’s body but he did have a glass pipe in his hand.

“The state’s position was right from the beginning that this is a pre-meditated execution,” she said outside the courthouse. “Obviously, we have no way of knowing exactly how the jury came to their conclusions, but they did find him guilty of knowing and intentional murder. And we’re very happy for that.”

Butsitsi’s lawyer, Anthony Sineni, said his client will file an appeal. He did not elaborate further.

Maxwell Chikuta, a friend of Mulongo’s family, said that tragedy struck both families involved. Both families are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“We had a loss. We know it’s a void we can’t replace, but it came into both families,” he said. “We came from the same country.”

 

2:15pm

The jury has found Daudoit Butsitsi guilty of murder. Details to come.

 

11:34pm

PORTLAND — Daudoit Butsitsi had had enough of Serge Mulongo. On that, both sides in Butsitsi’s murder trial agree.

But while the prosecution frames last year’s fatal shooting in Parkside as Butsitsi’s retribution for acts of disrespect by Mulongo, the defense contends that Butsitsi acted in self-defense, thinking his life was in danger when he and Mulongo were together in a dimly lit hallway of their apartment building.

Now jurors will decide what they believe happened on the night of Feb. 10, 2010, when Butsitsi, 25, shot Mulongo, 24, six times at close range in an entryway to their building.

The jury began deliberating Wednesday afternoon in Cumberland County Superior Court after the state and the defense presented closing arguments. The deliberations are expected to continue this morning.

If the jurors decide Butsitsi is not guilty of murder, they must determine whether he committed manslaughter.

A murder conviction requires a finding that a person killed knowingly or intentionally, while a manslaughter conviction requires reckless or criminally negligent action. Murder carries a prison sentence of 25 years to life. Manslaughter has a maximum sentence of 30 years.

The prosecution describes the shooting as a planned ambush and execution that followed two fistfights between Butsitsi and Mulongo earlier that day.

The two fought that morning in their apartment at 218 Park Ave. — Butsitsi testified that Mulongo put on a ring before punching him and bloodying his face. Later, outside, Mulongo punched Butsitsi through an open window of Butsitsi’s car.

Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese said Butsitsi had had enough of Mulongo getting the better of him.

“He was tired of Serge Mulongo. … He took matters into his own hands and engaged in vigilante justice,” Marchese told jurors.

Prosecutors say Butsitsi got a gun from someone, as well as latex gloves, and went to the apartment building. They suggest that he hid behind the staircase, near a fire door, and waited for Mulongo to come down the stairs.

Anthony Sineni, Butsitsi’s court-appointed lawyer, said his client was understandably angry that day. Butsitsi decided that he was done with Mulongo — in the sense that he planned to move out of the apartment and stop being friends with him.

Butsitsi testified that he never intended to kill Mulongo, Sineni reminded the jury.

Butsitsi wanted to go into the apartment to retrieve his belongings — including $500 he had saved to get his own place — and brought the gun as protection because he knew Mulongo was capable of violence, Sineni said.

Butsitsi had testified that Mulongo threatened to kill him that night over the phone, and that Mulongo had guns, one or two machetes, and knives. Butsitsi and other witnesses testified earlier in the trial about Mulongo acting violently.

Butsitsi shot at Mulongo when he thought he saw a gun, Sineni said. Police did not find a gun on Mulongo, but he was holding a glass pipe.

Sineni showed jurors a folding knife with a 3½-inch blade and a pair of shears that were closed with wire — items found in Mulongo’s pockets. He noted that a police officer had testified that the shears could be used to hold a marijuana cigarette.

“Or could this be something clenched in the fist and used sideways to stab?” Sineni said as he demonstrated to the jury.

Marchese dismissed Butsitsi’s claims of self-defense. She noted that he had the opportunity to tell police he was frightened of Mulongo, and that Butsitsi’s explanation of what happened that night doesn’t make sense if he really only wanted to get his belongings.

Marchese noted that Butsitsi had the friend who was driving him park a block away and didn’t ask the friend to accompany him into the building. Inside the building, she said, he didn’t take the most direct route up to his apartment. Instead, he walked down a 69-foot-long hallway.

And even if Butsitsi had been scared and encountered Mulongo unexpectedly as he claims, he didn’t have to shoot, Marchese said.

“He was perfectly able — if he was that scared — to walk back through that door and retreat,” she said.

Sineni argued that if Butsitsi planned to kill Mulongo, he could have lured him to a remote area, and would have better disposed of the latex gloves that police recovered from a nearby parking lot the next day.

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:
[email protected]