What was Steve charged with in the book Monster

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In the opening scene of the novel, Kathy O'Brien, Steve's defense attorney, informs him that he is charged with felony murder and that the prosecution is pushing for the death penalty. Steve is charged with the murder of Alguinaldo Nesbitt, a Harlem drugstore owner. Steve Harmon is depicted as a morally ambiguous young man, who is scared for his life while he is on trial. It is suggested that Steve Harmon became involved with James King and Osvaldo Cruz and agreed to participate in robbing Nesbitt's drugstore. Allegedly, Steve's job was to enter the drugstore and make sure that the coast was clear before James King and Richard “Bobo” Evans carried out the robbery. While Steve did enter the store, he did not give James King or Bobo a signal that the coast was clear and Lorelle Henry does not recall seeing Steve in the store during the robbery, which is significant to his case. Fortunately, Steve is acquitted while James King is charged with felony murder.

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Steve Harmon and James King are both charged with the felony murder of Alguinaldo Nesbitt. "Felony murder" is a murder committed during the course of another felony crime, in their case, the robbery of Nesbitt's convenience store. 

It seems strange to many readers that Steve and King would be on trial for the same crime, when King was clearly the one in the store, with the gun. In fact, the prosecution is not even trying to prove that Steve shot Nesbitt, just that he was involved in the robbery that left the man dead.

Still, Steve certainly feels enough guilt throughout the novel to suggest that his choice to act as a lookout for King's robbery scheme directly lead to Nesbitt's death, at least in his own mind. 

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