The Fairfield community and family and friends of Mark Fisher ’06 finally have some answers.

The leader of a Brooklyn gang was convicted on Tuesday of murdering Fisher in 2003.

John Guica, 21, now faces a sentence of 25 years to life in prison for second-degree murder, robbery and weapons posession. The jury deliberated for less than a day before they released their decision to convict Guica.

Antonio Russo, 19, who has been charged with firing the final shot, is waiting for the second independent jury’s decision.

The members claimed they needed another day.

“We, as a jury, want to sleep on it, because some are a little undecided,” Newsday reported that the note said.

“I know the collective prayers and wishes of the Fairfield University community are with Mark’s parents, Michael and Nancy Fisher, his siblings and other family members,” said Dean of Students Mark Reed. “It appears that the criminal justice system really worked to find and convict those responsible, despite a number of factors working against them.”

“I hope students and others will take some time to reflect upon how precious life really is and how much we have to be thankful for,” he added.

Fisher, 19, had been at a Manhattan bar, Bar Harbour, on Oct. 12, 2003 with several Fairfield friends. At the bar, he bumped into Angel DiPietro ’06 and many of her high school friends from Garden City, N.Y., the New York Times reported.

The two groups mixed and both went to a nearby pizzaria. But soon they parted; the Fairfield students went to another bar and Fisher chose to remain behind with one of the Garden City girls, Meredith Denihan. He seemed to like her.

Fisher’s Fairfield friends could not reach him because he had left his cell phone behind.

DiPietro had made plans that night to meet Abert Cleary, 21, her boyfriend’s roommate at Fordham University. Cleary testified that DiPietro wanted to introduce him to her girlfriends from home.

DiPietro left Fisher and Denihan at the pizzeria and went to another bar called Tin Lizzie, and met Cleary and his childhood friend, Guica.

Soon after, Fisher and Denihan arrived at the bar but couldn’t get inside with their fake IDs. They stood on the sidewalk together.

According to the New York Times, Cleary said that Fisher was drunk, so the group attempted to put him in a cab, but he didn’t have money to get back to New Jersey, where he lived. Denihan said that she and DiPietro had missed the last train to Garden City.

Cleary told DiPietro and Denihan that they could spend the night at his Brooklyn home, but Denihan didn’t want to leave Fisher – it was his first unsupervised trip to New York City.

Guica told the group they could go to his house, which was located close to Cleary’s. His parents were on vacation.

The next morning, Fisher wrapped in a yellow blanket, was found on a Brooklyn street. He had been shot five times, beaten and robbed of the $20 he had.

Prosecutors say that Fisher sat on a table in Guica’s house, irritating him, and making him the target of a gang crime.

A week prior to Fisher’s murder, Guica had been overheard saying that in order to prove commitment to his gang, “Ghetto Mafia,” members would have to commit homicide.

According to the New York Times, the gang was modeled after the Crips and even had its own colors: blue and orange.

Witnesses said that after Fisher sat on a table at the Brooklyn house, Guica became angered and gave Russo the .22-caliber Ruger pistol that was used to kill Fisher.

Fisher, who had wrapped himself in a yellow blanket, was led outside to the street where he was shot.

Assistant District Attorney Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi said that Guica, for a variety of reasons, set Fisher’s murder plot. The reasons ranged from a desire to enhance the gang’s credibility to mere agitation with Fisher.

Many of Russo’s friends, including his girlfriend, testified that he confessed his involvement in the murder.

On Monday, Guica’s lawyer, Sam Gregory, said that many of Guica’s friends were convinced by investigators to lie on the stand, the New York Times reported.

But Nicolazzi said even the confessions of these people did not portray the whole story.

The prosecution had said for a long time that Fisher went to an A.T.M. with Russo that night.

But Nicolazzi said the trip never happened, probably because Russo couldn’t handle Fisher, who was 6’4″, on his own. Instead, he and Guica woke Fisher up after he fell asleep from a night of drinking.

Nicolazzi said that even though Fisher’s death was a result of many unfortunate coincidences, he was an “easy target” in Brooklyn, the New York Times reported. Russo thought he was “a kid who looked like he came from money” and wanted to rob him. He also said Guica was jealous that Fisher had been flirting with a young woman he liked.

When Russo arrived at the Brooklyn house, Cleary told Fisher that there may be trouble. Fisher replied, “I’ve got your back,” Nicolazzi told the jury.

“It is more than a tragic shame that in the final moments of Mark Fisher’s life, no one, nobody, had his back, Nicolazzi said.

Because so many at the Manhattan bar and Brooklyn house remained silent for long, it took police a full year after the murder to arrest suspects. During that time, police and members of the Fisher family criticized some of Fisher’s friends for not being completely forthright with what they knew.

On Tuesday, Guica was dressed in a “baggy suit and open-collared shirt,” the AP reported. When the verdict was read, he looked at the jury in disbelief.

Fisher’s parents seemed “glum and unsurprised” when the verdict was released, the AP reported.

Other members of Fisher’s family held hands and weeped when Guica was convicted, Newsday reported.

“I felt that justice was prevailed,” Fisher’s aunt, Helida DiGiacomo told Newsday.

Fairfield released a statement on Tuesday: “The conviction Tuesday of one of the individuals charged in the death of Fairfield student Mark Fisher is another step in bringing the legal case to a close. That said, the fond memories of this fine young man whose life ended so tragically and prematurely, will linger forever. His family and friends continue to grieve and will do so for a long time.”

“There are very few people who you can only know for a year and they impact you forever,” said Mary Boehmer ’06, friend of Fisher. “Mark was one of those people in my life. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him and his smile.”

“He was one of the most light-hearted kids I have ever known,” she added. “He was hilarious, strong, smart, fun and loving.”

Boehmer said that she is happy the Fisher family “will have some peace of mind as to who is responsible” for their son’s death.

“But I choose not to think or give any of my energy to those who are responsible for killing Mark,” Boehmer said. “Instead I fill my mind and heart with memories and the love I have for him.”

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