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Teenager charged with murdering eight-year-old girl in Atlanta

Julian Conley’s lawyer Jackie Patterson claims the 19-year-old witnessed the shooting but did not open fire himself.

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Secoriea Turner was fatally shot in Atlanta on July 4 (John Bazemore/AP)

Secoriea Turner was fatally shot in Atlanta on July 4 (John Bazemore/AP)

Secoriea Turner was fatally shot in Atlanta on July 4 (John Bazemore/AP)

A teenage suspect has been charged with murder and aggravated assault in a shooting that killed an eight-year-old Atlanta girl.

Police issued warrants a day earlier for 19-year-old Julian Conley over the death of Secoriea Turner, police spokesman Anthony Grant said.

Conley’s lawyer Jackie Patterson said the teenager was peacefully protesting and witnessed the shooting but did not open fire himself, though he was armed.

Police would have a better chance at winning the lottery than getting a conviction on my clientLawyer Jackie Patterson

“It is no doubt this comes as a shock,” he said.

“Why would you want to charge a man who saw a crime but did not participate in a criminal act?

“Police would have a better chance at winning the lottery than getting a conviction on my client.”

News of the charges broke as mourners attended Secoriea’s funeral on Wednesday at New Calvary Missionary Baptist Church.

A long line of relatives and friends filed past her body as the gospel song I’ll Fly Away filled the Atlanta church.

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Charmaine Turner prepares to enter a viewing for her daughter Secoriea (John Bazemore/AP)

Charmaine Turner prepares to enter a viewing for her daughter Secoriea (John Bazemore/AP)

AP/PA Images

Charmaine Turner prepares to enter a viewing for her daughter Secoriea (John Bazemore/AP)

Secoriea was fatally shot on July 4 while riding in an SUV with her mother Charmaine and another adult near the Wendy’s restaurant where Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old black man, was killed by a white police officer on June 12.

Makeshift barricades had been set up in the area after Mr Brooks was killed and armed men had been blocking roads in the area and turning some drivers away.

The SUV Secoriea was in was trying to make a U-turn at one of the barricades when at least one gunman shot into the vehicle, police said.

Conley said the SUV tried to come through a road block and hit a barricade and a man armed with a rifle, according to Mr Patterson.

The man got up and opened fire at the vehicle, Mr Patterson said his client told him.

Conley said everyone thought somebody in the SUV was shooting and other armed people opened fire at the vehicle, Mr Patterson said.

“He was in disbelief that people were shooting at the vehicle,” the lawyer said.

Secoriea’s parents have pleaded for the public to help find whoever was responsible for the killing.

A total of 50,000 dollars (£39,740)  in reward money was offered for the apprehension and conviction of those responsible.

PA