Man convicted of gunning down Norfolk Street pizza-place owner

A Suffolk Superior Court jury today found Gary Johnson guilty of first-degree murder for the Nov. 1, 2007 shooting of Stalex Pizza owner Mumin Manavoglu, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office announced.

Gary Johnson of Roxbury will now be sentenced to life behind bars without possibility of parole.

Prosecutors charged that Johnson robbed Manavoglu of $60 around 9 a.m. and that when Manavoglu chased him on the street, Johnson shot him in the head, killing him.

The DA's office provided the following statement based on arguments by Assistant District Attorney Cory Flashner:

Manavoglu got up early as he did every day, and went over to the pizza shop at about 6:30 a.m. to begin doing food preparation and to manage employees. The shop served breakfast, lunch and dinner in addition to pizza. Manavoglu and his co-owner were working in the restaurant at about 9:30 a.m. when a man, later identified as Johnson, wearing black clothing and covering his face with the sleeve of his hooded sweatshirt, walked into the establishment brandishing a handgun.

Johnson allegedly pointed the gun at Manavoglu's partner and demanded money from the cash register, Flashner said. After putting approximately $80 in a plastic delivery bag, Johnson ran out of the store.

Manavoglu "made the choice that he was not going to be a victim of armed robbery," Flashner said, and chased after Johnson.

During the pursuit, Manavoglu was able to get close enough to the defendant to engage in a struggle with him, Flashner said. Johnson then grabbed the gun from his pocket and fired a shot behind him. The shot did not strike anyone, but caused Manavoglu to fall to the ground. Johnson continued to run down Norfolk Street towards Edson Street; Manavoglu got up and again gave chase.

Johnson then "chose to turn and shoot that gun a second time," Flashner said. The bullet penetrated Manavoglu's nose, going up his sinus cavity, up into the skull, and into the back of his brain, where it remained lodged until his death two days later, he said.

Within seconds of the shooting, Boston Police officers on routine patrol in the area saw Johnson running onto Edson Street, then rapidly change course upon seeing the police cruiser. At about the same time, officers noticed a group of people gathered around the victim as he lay on the sidewalk in a pool of his own blood.