After about two and a half hours, a jury found 52-year-old Alvin Sanders guilty of first degree murder Friday night. The crime took place on 7th street on December 10 of last year.
Defense attorneys claimed that it was the murder victim Tony Cleveland who had a history of starting trouble. They say he initiated the fight the night of his murder. The prosecution was able to convince the jury otherwise.
In closing statements they said Sanders and Cleveland had been involved in many confrontations. Last December it came to a head when Sanders took a steak knife out of his kitchen drawer and put an end to arguments.
Sanders also told Rockford police several conflicting stories. Prosecuting lawyers say it was Sanders’ dishonest reports to the police that sealed the guilt verdict.
Sanders is facing 20 to 60 years in prison for this first degree murder conviction.