Frankford man found guilty in ’02 murder case

It was a ver­dict al­most a dozen years in the mak­ing, but justice may have to wait some more.

A Com­mon Pleas Court jury on Feb. 25 found a former Frank­ford man guilty of first-de­gree murder in the slay­ings of two neigh­bor­hood teens over an al­leged drug debt in 2002. Yet three days after the ver­dict, the same jury spared Fernando Real, 31, a death sen­tence. Real, who is already serving life in pris­on for an un­re­lated 2002 murder, will be form­ally sen­tenced to two ad­di­tion­al life terms on April 25.

The latest case stemmed from a Sept. 9, 2002, shoot­ing on the 5200 block of Hawthorne St. where Real cornered Byron Story and Mar­cus Her­bert, both 18, on Her­bert’s porch at about 4:30 a.m., pulled a gun and fired nu­mer­ous bul­lets at them. Story suffered a head wound and died at the scene. Her­bert was hos­pit­al­ized with mul­tiple back wounds and died 13 months later.

Po­lice de­tect­ives sus­pec­ted a drug link from the start. Story, of the 900 block of Brill St. in Ox­ford Circle, had been con­victed on drug charges be­fore. In a 2003 in­ter­view with the North­east Times, Story’s moth­er, Juan­ita Jones, re­vealed that her son had fallen back in­to a bad crowd after earn­ing a high school dip­loma from the Glen Mills Schools. But he also as­pired to get a le­git­im­ate job and study busi­ness man­age­ment in col­lege, she said.

The slay­ings re­mained un­solved un­til 2007, when au­thor­it­ies re-ar­res­ted Real. Last week, the jury de­lib­er­ated for just three hours be­fore con­vict­ing him of two first-de­gree murder counts, along with rob­bery, con­spir­acy and fire­arms of­fenses. ••

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