Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

A man acquitted of murder in the shooting death of a father who took his teenage son to buy a cell phone advertised on Craigslist was sentenced Monday to nine years in prison for an unrelated robbery that occurred two months earlier.

Ryan Roth, 20, was acquitted last September in the Oct. 19, 2013, shooting death of Rene Balbuena, 41, and the attempted murder of Balbuena’s 15- year-old son, along with robbery counts stemming from the encounter.

Co-defendant Markell Thomas testified against Roth in exchange for a 26- year prison sentence slated to be handed down on Thursday.

Roth’s attorney, Anthony Willoughby, contended that Thomas testified to try to “deflect the blame” from himself, though prosecutors allege Roth — who was 17 at the time of the shooting — was the gunman.

The panel that acquitted Roth of murder deadlocked on two other robbery counts against him stemming from an unrelated heist in August 2013. Prosecutors refiled those counts and a second jury deliberated for less than a day before convicting him on May 12.

Two sisters identified Roth as one of two men who robbed them of their phones and $300 in cash on Aug. 23, 2013, after they responded to a Craigslist ad offering a cell phone for sale.

The pair testified that they recognized Roth’s photo in a police array three months later because of his distinctively “sleepy look,” although both failed to recall other details.

— Wire reports 

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