FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (DC NEWS NOW) — 19-year-old Zachary Burkard was found guilty of manslaughter by a jury in the shooting death of two teenagers in 2021.
Burkard, who was charged with — and subsequently found not guilty of — murder, was convicted of the lesser crime but still faces the prospect of up to two decades behind bars.
On April 25, 2021, Burkard used a ghost gun and shot and killed two high school students, 17-year-old Ersheen Elaiaiser and 16-year-old Calvin Van Pelt, following a fist fight.
“Anytime a young person’s life is taken, it’s a tragedy,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano in a statement following the conviction. “But especially when it’s done with a gun that should have never existed. My heart breaks for the victims and their families. While there are no winners in a case like this, I hope with the trial behind us, those most affected can begin a process of healing.”
Burkard’s sentencing hearing is set for December 15.