A SUPREME Court jury has found a teenage boy guilty of the murder of Maryborough man John Bourke.
Two teenagers, aged 15 and 17 at the time, were charged with murder following the bashing death of Mr Bourke, 45, in the early hours of July 15, 2018.
On Wednesday morning the younger of the two, now 17, was found guilty of the crime.
Mr Bourke's sister and parents were in court yesterday, along with members of both teenagers' families, as they have been throughout the trials.
Both Mr Bourke's sister and members of the boy's family cried when the guilty verdict was delivered.
The jury found the second teenager, now 19, not guilty of murder.
Jurors could not come to a unanimous decision on the alternative offence of manslaughter, so Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth sent them out to determine whether a majority 11-1 verdict was viable.
But after about 15 minutes, the jury informed the court it could see no possibility of reaching a majority verdict.
The jury was subsequently discharged.
Mr Bourke's body was discovered in his Derby Road home on July 15, 2018 by a neighbour, who went to check on him after noticing the front door was open and the porch light was on.
The night before, the two teenagers were at a house party nearby.
At some point, the younger boy wanted to confront a man - not Mr Bourke - who lived nearby and was accused of sexually abusing one of his peers.
But the pair went to the wrong house and instead assaulted Mr Bourke.
Mr Bourke had osteogenesis imperfecta or 'brittle bone disease', which made him more susceptible to fractures and injury; over the course of his life, he had suffered more than 400 broken bones.
The trials, day by day:
- Day 1: Murder trial begins for teens accused of killing Maryborough man
- Day 2: Court hears teen charged with murder was drunk and upset night man died
- Day 3: Neighbours heard yelling on the night Maryborough man died, jury told
- Day 4: Teen heard saying he went to the wrong home night man died, court told
- Day 5: Jury told accused teens fought on night man died
- Day 6: Murder accused's DNA found at victim's home, court told
- Day 7: 'Substantial' force caused Maryborough victim's injuries, court told
- Day 8: Court told Maryborough man died from facial, head injuries
- Day 9: Murder accused told police he did not want to kill
- Day 10: Murder trial jury told they must consider intent of accused
- Day 11: Jury hears end of closing addresses
The court heard Mr Bourke died from trauma to his head and face, having suffered severe fractures that a forensic pathologist said would have required "substantial force".
But there was evidence given to the court that a person with Mr Bourke's conditions would suffer injury from less force than a person of regular health.
The prosecution had argued that the two teenagers were guilty of murder because they intended to cause Mr Bourke 'really serious' injury.
Crown prosecutor Grant Hayward said there was an understanding between the two that they would inflict really serious injury, and the older teenager helped the other.
No matter who struck the fatal blows, he said, this meant they were both responsible for Mr Bourke's death.
Neither of the teenagers denied being in Mr Bourke's home that night.
But the younger of the two told police he did not want to kill the man.
His defence counsel, Nishi Rathwani, told the jury the boy did not intend to cause really serious injury either.
The court was told he would plead guilty to manslaughter.
Lawyers for the older teenager argued their client was not guilty of murder or manslaughter.
They said he had not formed an understanding with his co-accused to inflict really serious injury, nor helped the other boy in causing injury that led to Mr Bourke's death.
They said the younger boy was solely responsible for killing Mr Bourke.
The teenagers were arrested at their homes on the evening of July 15, 2018.
Their interviews were played to the jury during the trial.
The older teenager told police they left the party because the younger boy was "going off his head" and calling someone a paedophile.
He told police Mr Bourke was standing on his porch when the younger boy went up to him and threw the first punch.
The assault moved just inside the door and he punched Mr Bourke twice before stomping on his legs, while the younger boy stomped on his head.
Mr Bourke repeatedly asked them to stop, he said, so he did, and pulled the other boy off him.
But he said the younger boy continued to return to the house.
In his interviews, the younger boy said he recalled kicking Mr Bourke twice in the head, telling them he had a flashback of a man's bloodied face.
He at first said he only wanted to talk to the man accused of abuse, but later admitted he was "probably just going to bash him".
He told police that the following day, when he realised he'd gotten the "wrong house", he "nearly broke down" because "that wasn't meant to go that far".
During the trial the jury heard evidence from multiple witnesses who attended the party that night, some of whom said they heard one or both of the teenagers talking about having a fight, thinking they had killed someone, having assaulting someone, or wanting to kill or hurt someone.
One witness said she saw the boys arguing and the older of the pair say: "I'm not going away for it".
The jury heard evidence that the teenagers were driven down Derby Road the following day and realised the house they had attended the night before was not the home of the man accused of sexual abuse.
Two neighbours of Mr Bourke told the jury they had banging and loud noises from the house in the early hours of July 15, 2018.
Members of the jury were instructed they could consider the alternative offence of manslaughter if they found one or both accused not guilty of murder.
The jurors began deliberating shortly before noon last Wednesday, March 4, and notified the court they had reached verdicts on the charge of murder shortly before 11am on Wednesday, March 11.
The 17-year-old found guilty of murder will return to court in July for a plea hearing before he is sentenced.
The 19-year-old, now charged with manslaughter, will face trial again later this year.
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