Justice Served - Brothers Guilty in Ayers Shooting

7-14-04 - A jury found two Love County brothers guilty of six felony counts related to the shooting that critically injured a young boy in April of 2003.

The verdict was read just before 5pm on Wednesday. The jury found Rickey Rawlins Junior guilty of shooting with the intent to kill and assault. They found Kenneth Rawlins guilty of the lesser charges of assault with a deadly and dangerous weapon – the same thing their father was convicted of late last year.

Despite only taking a few hours to determine their guilt, the jury spent the rest of the evening coming up with a sentence recommendation. Twice, the claimed to be deadlocked, but finally, around 9pm, they recommended a sentence of 49 years in prison for Rawlins Jr, and 24 years for his brother Kenneth. A judge take the jury's findings into consideration later this summer.

Prosecutors say the family opened fire on a pickup, while a woman inside was trying to serve court papers at their rural Love County home.

Jacob Ayers, 12, was shot in the head. The jury is still deliberating their punishment.

The trial began on Monday. The Rawlins brothers took the stand in their own defense, claiming they only fired upon the pickup truck in self-defense.

The Rawlins’ father, Rickey Rawlins Sr., was found guilty of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and reckless conduct with a firearm last year. He was sentenced to one year in the Love County jail.