WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- A jury has decided it was manslaughter when an 18-year-old man died with a steel rod thrust through his head.
Authorities said 18-year-old Carlos Lopez died shortly after a fight with Patrick "P.J." Melehan in June 2007. A steel rod had been forced all the way through Lopez's skull, from front to back. Melehan was charged with second-degree murder and burglary.
But 21-year-old Melehan's defense argued that no eyewitness testimony or physical evidence placed the steel rod in Melehan's hand.
A jury late Friday decided the death wasn't a murder but rather manslaughter, a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Relatives of both the young men left the courtroom, weeping.