Man found guilty of killing 13-year-old over alleged obscene hand gesture

By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A 22-year-old Philadelphia man has been found guilty of first-degree murder for shooting a 13-year-old boy point-blank in a Chinese takeout restaurant, all over an alleged insulting gesture.

Tymear Johnson stood with his knuckles pressed against the table Friday as the guilty charge was announced for the killing of 13-year-old Khiseer Davis-Prather.

During the weeklong trial, prosecutors surmised that Johnson was on a bus with his girlfriend and two others, in March 2017. As they passed a Chinese takeout restaurant, they saw the 13-year-old and his young friends inside. 

Johnson thought they gestured something insulting toward him, so when he and another friend, Christopher Southerland, got off the bus, they walked back two blocks to the restaurant.

Johnson put on a mask and ultimately pulled the trigger with the fatal blow to the 13-year-old’s head, prosecutors said. Surveillance video also captured the murder, in which Khiseer, wearing a lime-green backpack, slumps slowly to his left. The masked shooter runs out the door before the teen hits the floor. Panicked, his friends run out too.

Southerland made a deal with prosecutors, pleading guilty to conspiracy charges and serving only three to six years.

The defense argued there was no physical evidence that put Johnson at the scene.

Prosecutors also showed surveillance video of Johnson wearing a uniquely designed jacket with red patches, which he was seen wearing at the King of Prussia Mall, then again on a SEPTA bus. Surveillance tracks him back to his house and then at the Chinese restaurant, where Khiseer was killed.

The teen's family said they are satisfied with the verdict, but it doesn’t change anything. Khiseer is still gone. The boy’s great-grandmother has had several strokes since his death.

The defense asked for Johnson to be evaluated for his mental health, which will take place over the next few months.

His sentencing is set for January. He will automatically receive a life sentence.