Gunman Guilty In Nine-Year-Old Slaying During CU Heist

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DETROIT – A 37-year-old Detroit man faces a possible death penalty after a federal jury convicted him yesterday of killing an armored truck guard during a 2001 robbery of $204,000 at Dearborn FCU, now known as DFCU Financial.

If the jury finds Timothy O’Reilly eligible for the death penalty in the penalty phase of the trial starting Monday it would be the first execution in Michigan since 1938, when the state banned executions. There is no capital punishment for state offenses in Michigan, but the death penalty is available for certain federal crimes, such as murder during a bank robbery.

A jury of 10 women and two men deliberated about one hour before convicting O'Reilly, a California native who moved to Detroit, on all six counts he faced. That included the murder of Norman "Anthony" Stephens, 30, who was killed by two shotgun blasts when his armored truck was robbed around 4 a.m. on Dec. 14, 2001.

O'Reilly showed no emotion when the six guilty verdicts were read. Some counts related to another armored truck robbery at a Comerica bank branch in Detroit in 2003, in which a guard was grazed by a bullet and $175,000 was stolen.

O’Reilly was identified as the man who shot Stephens even though all six of the assailants wore masks during the heist. He later bragged of killing the guard to an undercover informant in prison, who surreptitiously recorded the conversation.

Four others have been convicted in the case and one awaits trial this fall. But O’Reilly, as the man believed to have fired the gun that killed Stephens, is the only one to face the death penalty.

In the penalty phase, which starts Monday, the same 12 jurors will be asked to determine whether O'Reilly should be executed or face life in prison. The government and defense can call evidence.

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