After about two hours of deliberation Thursday, Cook County jurors convicted a South Side man charged with setting an ice cream vendor and his truck on fire last summer.
Kingsley Anyiam, 33, of the 9100 block of South Carpenter Street, was found guilty of attempted murder, battery and arson for attacking his brother-in-law, Samuel Iloka, around sunset Aug. 7.
According to testimony, when Iloka turned to get a strawberry shortcake dessert for a customer out of his truck, Anyiam doused him with gasoline, tossed a gasoline-filled bucket in one of the truck's open windows and ignited a blaze.
"(Iloka) has to live with the scars and the war injuries that he sustained for trying to sell an ice cream bar," Assistant State's Attorney Tom Kougias said during his closing argument.
Prosecutors told jurors the attack, on the 7600 block of South Oglesby Avenue, was the culmination of a dispute over an overdue debt that Iloka owed Anyiam.
"It's about greed, jealousy and money," Kougias said.
Anyiam's lawyers, however, tried to raise doubts about Iloka's credibility.
Iloka, a native of Nigeria, allegedly married his own sister and lied to immigration officials in order to settle in the United States, according to defense attorneys. The defense also said Iloka blamed Anyiam for the attack because Anyiam tried to have Iloka deported.
"We never denied that (Iloka's attack) was a horrible event," Mark Basile, an attorney for Anyiam, told jurors. "(But) this case is about lies, fraud and fabrication."
Even if Iloka did falsify his visa papers, "that doesn't give (Anyiam) a right to set him on fire," Kougias replied.
Cook County Circuit Judge Fred Suria scheduled Anyiam's sentencing for March 31.