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Jury convicts man of murder in death of I-95 robbery target

A Harford County jury has found a 33-year-old Temple Hills man guilty of first-degree murder and five other counts in connection with the killing last year of a Havre de Grace resident during an attempted robbery on Interstate 95.

Demetrius D. Lovelace is to be sentenced Jan. 25, said Joseph I. Cassilly, the state's attorney for Harford County. The victim was Alan Zurita, 29, who died on April 1, 2008, after being found by a Maryland State Police officer on the shoulder of southbound I-95, near the Route 24 exit, with a gunshot wound in his chest. Zurita was pronounced dead at the Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air.

Lovelace's trial began on Nov. 2 before Harford County Circuit Judge Thomas E. Marshall. The jury began deliberations on Tuesday and two days later returned guilty verdicts for first-degree felony murder, robbery with a deadly weapon, robbery, attempted robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery and illegal possession of a regulated firearm by a convicted felon.

In April, Lovelace's accused accomplice, Damon M. Jackson, 34, of Havre de Grace, was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of first-degree murder in a separate trial in February. He also received a consecutive 15-year sentence for using a handgun in the commission of a murder, and will be placed on five years of supervised probation when he is released.

Prosecutors said the two men tried to rob Zurita after offering him a ride to Baltimore. A struggle over a handgun ensued and the gun went off, hitting Zurita in the chest, prosecutors said. Jackson was wounded in the incident, they said.

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