The jury also found Ware guilty on four other charges including three counts of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
The jury reached their decision after four days of hearing witness testimony and after four hours of deliberation.
According to the Polk County District Attorney’s office, Ware’s sentencing will be held at a later date.
Ware was indicted by a grand jury in July 2011 on charges that stemmed from an an incident that took place on New Year’s Day 2011.
The incident left 16-year-old Rockmart teen Rodney Arzez Mitchell Jr. dead.
The state believes that the altercation leading to Mitchell’s death was the result of a party prank gone bad.
Lisa Mason, a prosecutor with the District Attorney’s office said that Ware, while attending a party in Rockmart at a home on West Church Street, fell asleep on the couch.
During the time Ware was asleep, his fingernails were painted and lip-gloss was applied to his lips.
Ware woke up sometime later, and Mason contends that he was angry and demanded to know who was responsible for the prank. Mason told the jury that Mitchell was blamed for the prank.
Mitchell, along with other individuals, were outside the West Church Street home when witnesses claim Ware stepped out from a vehicle and fired at Mitchell, striking him in the head.
Mason also told the jury that witnesses stated Ware also fired and pointed a gun at two other individuals.
Ware’s attorney, David Smith, told the jury that the burden of proof was on the state and that the evidence did not add up.
“There was a party with more than 100 people there. There was drinking and possibly marijuana involved,” Smith said. “I expect the evidence to show that a gun was fired, but no one saw [Ware] with a gun that night,” Smith told the jury.
Much of the law enforcement testimony centered on the eight .40 caliber shell casings that were found at the scene. It was confirmed during the trial that a weapon had not been found during the investigation.
It was learned through testimony by a medical examiner and forensic testing that the bullet retrieved from the Mitchell’s body was a .38 shot from a revolver.
A key piece of the defense’s case dealt with the proximity of Ware in relation to Mitchell at the time of the shooting.
The defense claims that witness testimony placed Ware 72 yards away from Mitchell when they allege Ware pulled the trigger.
“You have to ask yourself,” Smith told the jury, “what’s wrong with this picture? The state is telling you that Ware, in rainy and windy conditions, after a night of drinking, pointed a .38 revolver up a hill 72 yards away and managed to strike Rodney Mitchell between the eyes. There’s something wrong with that picture.”
Smith also called into question the validity of testimonies from the state’s key witnesses.
The prosecution, represented in closing arguments Thursday by Assistant District Attorney Andrew Garland claims that Ware was closer to Mitchell during the time of the shooting.
“What’s wrong with this picture?” Garland asked the jury while holding up photos of Mitchell’s gunshot wounds. “You have a 16-year-old shot dead and lay dying on a Rockmart street. That’s what is wrong. There are no other suspects in this case and every one of our witnesses identified Jermaine Ware as the shooter in this very courtroom.”
During the trial, witness testimony focused mainly on who was in attendance during the party and Ware’s demeanor after the prank had taken place.