After deliberating for about four hours Friday night, a Jefferson County Circuit Court jury found a Pine Bluff man guilty of second-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of another man in 2011.

After deliberating for about four hours Friday night, a Jefferson County Circuit Court jury found a Pine Bluff man guilty of second-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of another man in 2011.

Michael A. Thomas, 29, had originally been charged with capital murder but the jury of six men and six women decided on the lesser charge.

Circuit Judge Jodi Raines Dennis sentenced Thomas to six years in prison, the sentence the jury decided on, and he will have to serve one half of that sentence less good time before being eligible to apply for parole.

A prisoner receives one day of good time, up to a maximum 30 days per month, for every day he is locked up. Thomas will also receive credit for each day he had been held at the county detention center while awaiting trial.

Thomas had been accused of shooting Archie Kendrell Kirklin, 24, on the parking lot of the Speedway convenience store at 2504 S. Cherry St., on April 9, 2011. He was taken to Jefferson Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead by a doctor in the emergency room. The cause of death was listed as gunshot wounds to the back.

Testifying in his own defense Thursday, Thomas, who had pleaded innocent, said he felt threatened by Kirklin, particularly after Kirklin raised his shirt and showed Thomas a gun.

Thomas said the incident occurred while he was inside the convenience store, and said Kirklin had also made threats to him, including telling him “to hurry up and come outside, I’m going to put something on your a**.”

Attorney Greg Robinson, who represented Thomas along with attorney Erin West, said on Wednesday that Thomas suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder based on incidents that had happened to him and his family over the past year and-a-half.

Robinson said those incidents included Thomas being the victim of a drive-by shooting, one of his cars was firebombed, there was an attempt to set his house on fire, and he was run off the road by people who were shooting at him.

When he testified, Thomas said he recognized Kirklin as one of the people in the vehicles that had fired shots at his car.

On Wednesday, Deputy Prosecutor Bryan Achorn, who with Chief Deputy Prosecutor Wayne Juneau represented the state, told the jury that “we’re not here to try anything that happened before late night on April 8 and the early morning hours of April 9.”

Achorn said Thomas had more than one opportunity to leave the store while Kirklin was still inside, but didn’t.

“When the victim (Kirklin) walked out, he was followed by the defendant (Thomas) and as they came out of the store, the defendant raised his gun, leveled his gun, and fired three times,” Achorn said.

Achorn also focused on statements Thomas had made to two psychologists that he felt safe in the store.

“No one told you to leave,” Achorn said. “You felt like there were people outside who were threatening you, but you thought your best option was to leave.”

Thomas said during his testimony that he was not trying to hit Kirklin and wasn’t aiming at him.

Both the prosecutors and defense agreed that the meeting between Thomas and Kirklin inside the store was not planned, and when questioned by Robinson, said he would not have shot Kirklin if he had not been threatened.

Police recovered three -9-millimeter shell casings from the parking lot of the store, and Jennifer Floyd, who works for the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, testified that all three shell casings had been fired from the same gun.

When he testified, Thomas said he had gotten rid of the gun between the time of the shooting and the time he turned himself in to police, accompanied by Robinson.

The state had waived the death penalty and if Thomas had been convicted of capital murder, he would have been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.