Teen Accused of Burning a Rival Found Not Guilty

8 years 9 months 1 week ago Friday, June 24 2011 Jun 24, 2011 Friday, June 24, 2011 1:25:56 PM CDT June 24, 2011 in News
By: The Associated Press

POPLAR BLUFF (AP) - A southeast Missouri teenager accused of setting another teen on fire has been found not guilty.

A jury deliberated one hour and 22 minutes Friday before reaching the verdict in the case of 18-year-old Billy Joe Rasberry
of Poplar Bluff, who was charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action.

Rasberry was 16 and the victim 15 when they had a confrontation outside a Poplar Bluff convenience store in 2009. Rasberry's attorney, Steve Walsh, says several youths surrounded Rasberry, who had anticipated trouble and was carrying a bottle of gasoline. When he felt endangered, Rasberry threw the gas on the other teen and used a lighter to ignite it.

The teen was hospitalized for nine days with severe burns. Walsh called it a "classic case of self-defense."

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