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Boy, 16, convicted of robbery, acquitted of murder in killing of Arnesha Bowers

A 16-year-old Baltimore boy was convicted of robbery but acquitted of first degree felony murder and other charges in the burglary-gone-wrong killing of City College student Arnesha Bowers in June 2015, his attorney said.

The jurors' decision Monday evening came at the second trial for Raeshawn Rivers, who was previously acquitted of first-degree pre-meditated murder in December. Jurors also acquitted him at the first trial on counts including conspiracy to commit murder, arson, robbery with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment and related counts.

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At the most recent trial, Rivers was also acquitted of second degree murder, conspiracy to commit robbery and burglary counts.

Rivers was tried as an adult for the killing of Bowers, who was 16 years old, and he faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison at sentencing in July. But his attorney, Roya Hanna, said he is eligible to be transferred back to juvenile court, which she plans to seek.

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If sentenced in juvenile court, he would be released by his 21st birthday.

Hanna declined to comment further, citing the ongoing proceedings. The State's Attorney's Office said it could not immediately comment on the verdict.

Rivers had been accused of taking part in a plot to burglarize Bowers' grandmother's home that went awry when she discovered the crime in progress. The case was initially charged as a gang-related killing, but authorities later backed away from that contention.

At his first trial, prosecutors said Rivers, who was 14 at the time of the killing, was just as culpable as two men who directed the plot and carried out the killing. Hanna had argued at that trial that Rivers was helpless to intervene.

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A co-defendant, Adonay Dixon, pleaded guilty to directing the crime and testified at the trials. The third defendant, John Childs, also pleaded guilty to murder.

Dixon testified that he wanted to steal Bowers' iPhone, and Rivers — who Bowers had a crush on — was to distract her as he and another man rifled through the home. The plot at one point appeared to have fizzled, with Dixon and co-defendant John Childs — who also pleaded guilty — leaving.

But when Dixon and Childs returned and broke into the home, they were discovered by Bowers. Dixon testified that Bowers was not upset, and the three hung out with her and she fed them. Dixon claimed that at one point he picked up a meat tenderizer and flipped it to Childs, who surprised everyone when he used to hit Bowers over the head repeatedly.

Assistant State's Attorney Sharon Holback said at the first trial that Rivers "did nothing" to stop the attack or object. "Could he though?" Hanna asked jurors at the first trial.

Instead, Dixon instructed Childs to finish her off and began stealing items from the home along with Rivers. Bowers was strangled with a cord and raped, prosecutors have said. Dixon said Rivers helped him set the home on fire to destroy evidence.

In his statement to police, Rivers, who initially denied being present, told detectives Dixon had brandished a gun and threatened him.

Before jury deliberations in the first trial, Circuit Court judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill dismissed rape and kidnapping charges against Rivers.

An earlier version misstated some of the charges from both trials. The Sun regrets the error.

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