Jury finds Detroit man guilty of murder of French street artist

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 03, 2015 1:53 PM

(Reuters) - A jury on Thursday found a Detroit man guilty of felony murder in the death of a French street artist whose body was found in a vacant building near downtown Detroit in 2013, prosecutors said.

Dionte Travis, 19, is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 17 for his conviction in the killing of Bilal Berreni, the Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney's Office said in a statement.

Berreni, known by the street moniker "Zoo Project," began painting murals in his native Paris neighborhood at age 15. Before he went to Detroit, Berreni had traveled and painted murals in Tunisia in 2011.

A jury in September convicted Travis, who was charged as an adult, with armed robbery in the Berreni case, but failed to reach a verdict on the murder charge. Travis was sentenced to up to 40 years in prison on the armed robbery conviction. His retrial on the murder charged started on Monday.

Police have said three men were losing money in a dice game when they decided to rob someone and found Berreni. His body was found with a gunshot to the head in a vacant high-rise building near downtown Detroit in July 2013, but not identified for several months.

Jasin Curtis and Drequone Rich pleaded guilty to second-degree murder previously in Berreni's death and were sentenced to up to 40 years in prison each.

(Reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis; Editing by James Dalgleish)