Family reacts to guilty verdict in pizza delivery murder case - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Family reacts to guilty verdict in pizza delivery murder case

(WMC-TV) - A man accused of luring a pizza delivery driver into a robbery where he was fatally shot has been convicted of first degree murder.

Dean Heath, 19, was automatically sentenced to life in prison moments after a guilty verdict was read in court late Thursday afternoon.

"We the jury find the defendant guilty," said the foreman.

The verdict prompted tears from both the defendant's family and that of murdered pizza delivery driver Stephen Faulkner.

"We're pleased with the verdict and happy to have justice for Stephen and would like to than the community for all the love and support they've given us," said Faulkner's mother, Peggy Faulkner.

It took the jury five hours to convict Heath.  He was one of three people charged in 2009 with phoning in a bogus pizza order from a vacant house in Parkway Village where Faulkner was later robbed, then shot to death while attempting to run away.

"His father passed in 2004 and that was quite a bit," said Faulkner family friend Albert Lindsey.  "Now this has come upon the family, such a senseless crime."

Faulkner was 29 at the time of his murder and attempting to start a music producing career.  He delivered food for Pizza Hut to try and make extra money.

"Naturally, he could have gone to his mother or family members for the money, but he wanted to do it on his own for himself," said Lindsey.  "And such a tragedy happened from that."

Two others will be tried later in the killing of Faulkner. They are 25-year-old Jeremy Williams and 20-year-old Lavette Coleman.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. The AP contributed to this story.

Powered by Frankly