Defendant Kory McClary, 27, right, and attorney Robert Gamburg listen to opening statement at his his murder trial, Tuesday Aug. 20, 2013, at the Atlantic County courthouse in the Mays Landing section of Hamilton Township. McClary is accused of killing two men in Atlantic City.

Michael Ein

MAYS LANDING — An Atlantic City man who fled to Alabama after a double homicide was convicted of murder Thursday in the 2008 killing of two teens.

Kory McClary, now 27, acted as “judge, jury and executioner” when he fatally gunned down two teens in 2008, Assistant Prosecutor Dave Ruffenach told the jurors in his opening last week.

The jury agreed, convicting him of both the killings and weapons offenses.

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Defense attorney Robert Gamburg said he would file a motion for a new trial, based on correspondence the jury had with the court that could have caused a “compromised verdict.”

Michael Nelson, 15, of Atlantic City, and Phillip Fano, 19, of Hammonton, each was shot in the head June 22, 2008, as they stood on the 1000 block of North Ohio Avenue.

Less than 24 hours earlier, Nelson’s home and that of friend David Hood Jr., also 15 at the time, had been shot up. Hood was at the murder scene but escaped injury.

The shootings were all in retaliation for robbing McClary, the state alleged.

The defense argued that while McClary was a victim of an armed robbery by the teens, he did not retaliate. But, after hearing police were going to charge him in the crime, he went to Alabama to talk to a lawyer.

In Alabama, McClary ended up charged with robbery. While jailed, he told two different cellmates about the killings, according to testimony both those men gave at trial. He also told them of a woman who could identify him, threatening that she “won’t make it to trial.”

But Cathy Cruz did make it to trial, testifying that she saw the shooter, and picked him out of a photo array. The jury convicted McClary of four counts of aggravated assault in that shooting.

The jury did not find him guilty of shooting up the Hood home.

“There were some unusual circumstances that occurred during jury deliberation and we’re expecting to file motions for a new trial based on unusual correspondence from the jury to the court,” Gamburg said outside the courtroom. “We feel like the verdict was a compromised verdict due to the inconsistent nature of the jury’s findings and are optimistic of getting post-verdict relief.”

McClary faces life in prison when he is sentenced Oct. 18 before Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury.

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