PORTLAND – The foreman announced Thursday that the jury had found Daudoit Butsitsi guilty of murdering Serge Mulongo. Marshals soon cuffed Butsitsi and led him out of the courtroom as prosecutors, police and the victim’s relatives hugged.

In the hallway outside, the families of the victim and his killer greeted each other. The two fathers — who shook hands each day they attended the trial — went off on their own to speak, and embraced before parting.

Etienne Mulongo said later that the families — both from the Democratic Republic of Congo — don’t have to be enemies. He said he and Butsitsi’s father spoke as parents, about the need to keep in touch and stay strong.

“We are the same community. We are brothers and sisters,” Mulongo said.

Butsitsi, 25, and Serge Mulongo, who was 24, were good friends before their relationship soured. On Feb. 10, 2010, Butsitsi shot Mulongo six times in an entryway of their apartment building on Park Avenue.

The prosecution argued that Butsitsi ambushed Mulongo in retaliation for acts of disrespect. The defense maintained that Butsitsi had the gun for protection as he retrieved his belongings from the apartment he had shared with a friend who had grown increasingly violent.

Butsitsi said he fired 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.

The jury returned its verdict Thursday afternoon after deliberating for about 6½ hours over two days. During that time, jurors asked to revisit the testimony of Amanda Gove, who lived in the apartment building at 218 Park Ave. at the time of the shooting, and of Emmanuel William, an eyewitness to the shooting.

Gove testified that she saw two men walking quickly out of the building, and that one told her to call police because someone had been shot.

The defense said that Butsitsi told her to call police because he wanted help for Mulongo, and that Butsitsi and William left together after the shooting.

William testified that he fled from Butsitsi and saw him again outside the building after the shooting.

Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese said the jury rejected Butsitsi’s self-defense argument.

“The state’s position was … that this is a premeditated execution,” she said. “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.”

Anthony Sineni, Butsitsi’s court-appointed attorney, said his client will file an appeal. He did not elaborate.

Butsitsi faces a sentence of 25 years to life in prison. The sentencing has not yet been scheduled.

It’s not yet clear whether Butsitsi will face contempt-of-court proceedings for his refusal to answer questions about the gun. He said he got it from a friend’s home, but would not give names.

He refused to comply with Justice Andrew Horton’s order to answer, saying he did not want to put other people’s lives in danger.

The gun, a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol, has been linked to the shooting of Darien Richardson in January 2010. Richardson, who was 25, recovered initially but died later from a blood clot caused by the wound.

Any penalty for contempt would be in addition to Butsitsi’s murder sentence.

After the verdict was announced, Butsitsi raised a hand in greeting to his supporters as he left the courtroom. His supporters declined to speak to reporters.

Maxwell Chikuta, a friend of Mulongo’s family, said tragedy struck both families.

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

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

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