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Texas teen sentenced to 38 years for murdering Iraqi immigrant
May 24, 2016 / 6:36 PM / a year ago

Texas teen sentenced to 38 years for murdering Iraqi immigrant

DALLAS (Reuters) - A Dallas jury sentenced a teenager to 38 years in prison on Tuesday for murdering an Iraqi immigrant as he took family pictures while experiencing snow for the first time.

Nykerion Nealon in a photo released by the Dallas County Sheriff's Department. Handout via REUTERS

Nykerion Nealon, 19, was convicted on Monday of fatally shooting Ahmed al-Jumaili, 36, in March 2015 in the parking lot of his apartment complex.

Al-Jumaili had only been in the United States for about three weeks and authorities had thought the case might have been a hate crime. They later determined Nealon did not know al-Jumaili’s ethnicity and said he may have been trying to retaliate for a shooting at his girlfriend’s apartment.

Prosecutors said Nealon, who was 17 years old at the time, fired 14 rounds from an AK-47, striking al-Jumaili, who was in the snow with members of his family, once in the chest.

Al-Jumaili ran to his apartment and collapsed. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

”Coming to this country for a new start, only to have it stripped away from them in such a horrible fashion, has been unimaginable,” Alia Salem, executive director of the local branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim advocacy group, told reporters after the guilty verdict.

Nealon faced up to 99 years in prison and was sentenced by the same jury that convicted him. A lawyer for Nealon was not immediately available for comment.

Reporting by Lisa Maria Garza; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Bill Trott

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