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Wells found guilty of murder

Darwin M. Wells, 16, was found guilty of murder today in the death of Michael David Porter, who stopped at a gas station on Oct. 23, 2008, to ask directions to his grandson's football game.

The jury did not convict Wells of capital murder. The verdict came about an hour after the jury sent a note to Circuit Judge Dale Harkey stating they were deadlocked 11-1.

Judge Harkey sent the jury back for further deliberations.

The three-day trial included testimony from Porter's wife, Linda Bell Porter, who was in the passenger seat of the couple's black Mercedes when Porter was shot.

Entered into evidence also was a statement Wells made to law enforcement officials that included his account of what happened that night.

Wells said he had a gun in one of his pants pockets, but it was jammed and he was attempting to get it out of his pocket when “the gun went off,” the bullet fatally injuring Porter.

Also facing capital murder charges in the killing are Terry Hye Jr., then 15, and Telvin James Benjamin, then 14. They will be tried separately.

Capital murder is a crime punishable by death, but not in this case because the suspects are minors. The maximum sentence allowed would be life in prison. will update this story as details become available.

Read a full report in Friday's Sun Herald.