Teen Accused of Burning a Rival Found Not Guilty
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."