Wilson Pierre gets 40-year sentence again in Boynton Mall killing

Wilson Pierre sits in his sentencing hearing Monday, November 14, 2016. Pierre was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of 24-year-old Berno Charlemond, who was fatally shot among Christmas Eve shoppers at the Boynton Beach Mall in 2006. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

Wilson Pierre was sentenced to 40 years in prison Monday, marking the second time he’s has been sentenced for the 2006 shooting death of Berno Charlemond in a crowd of Christmas Eve shoppers at the Boynton Beach Mall.

In May, a jury took just 45 minutes to convict Pierre in the death of the 24-year-old, who was fatally shot near the JC Penney department store where he’d just fought with Pierre and others.

The jury in Pierre’s first trial convicted him of second-degree murder, and he was sentenced to 40 years in prison, but that sentence was overturned by Florida’s 4th District Court of Appeal, which ruled that jurors in that case received erroneous jury instructions on a lesser possible manslaughter charge.

His attorney, Gerald Salerno, asked Circuit Judge Dina Keever to sentence Pierre to the minimum mandatory 25 years in prison. Assistant State Attorney Craig Williams asked Keever to reinstate the 40-year sentence Circuit Judge John Kastrenakes imposed six years ago after his first conviction.

After Charlemond’s death, police initially arrested Jesse Cesar and Fregens Daniel, two men who were with Pierre during the fight. But after several witnesses described the shooter as being shorter than 6 feet with closely cropped hair in a stocking cap, police released Cesar — who was tall and wore his hair in chest-length dreadlocks.

Pierre was eventually arrested and charged with first degree murder.

Jurors in Pierre’s trial in 2009 appeared to be locked into an 11-1 split on a Friday, but they came back after a weekend break and convicted him of second-degree murder. Because he was convicted only of second-degree murder in the first trial, that was all he could be tried on in the second trial.

In the first trial, defense attorney Peter Grable told jurors that police got it right the first time and that Cesar was the shooter. Salerno made no such claims about Cesar this year, opting instead to attack the witness identifications in the case.

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