But instead of picking a jury yesterday, both defendants accepted plea bargains negotiated between their lawyers and Assistant District Attorney Jude Conroy on third-degree murder and related charges.
McManus, represented by attorney Michael Wallace, was sentenced to 32 1/2 to 70 years in state prison and fined $25,000; Smith, represented by attorney Scott DiClaudio, was sentenced to 13 1/2 to 27 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
"There's nothing I can say to the Kelly family that will make you whole," said Common Pleas Judge Sandy L.V. Byrd. "You have my condolences."
McManus, of Kensington, and Smith, of Fishtown - both 10th-grade dropouts - gave confession statements to police after being arrested. But neither chose to speak during the sentencing hearing.
The victim's mother, Maryanne Kelly, and one of his three siblings, Megan Kelly, gave tearful and fiery victim-impact statements in which they excoriated the defendants as greedy, selfish and remorseless.
After the hearing, they turned their disappointment to the District Attorney's Office for giving the defendants a choice to plead guilty.
"We're disgusted that they're allowed to make a decision on whether they want to plead or not," said Megan Kelly, 31. "It just should have gone to a trial."
Brian Kelly, the victim's father, said the family has no clue why the D.A.'s office didn't take the defendants to trial.
"They had more than enough evidence to convict both of them for first-degree murder and second-degree felony murder," said Brian Kelly, who immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland in 1975. "It should be life in prison for both, but one guy is going to be on the street in 12 1/2 years."
"We wanted a trial because my son was a taxpayer, I'm a taxpayer. These guys are not. They're living off the city, living off the state, living off the federal government," he said of the defendants.
"But the District Attorney's thing is to make a deal, save money. And they wonder why people are getting shot and killed in the city of Philadelphia," Brian Kelly continued. "The criminals dictate what goes on, not us."
Assistant D.A. Conroy stood by the decision to offer the defendants plea deals.
"This is a horribly tragic loss of life. But under the facts and circumstances of the case, I think the disposition is appropriate," he said.
"Two young people doing nothing more than having a night of fun, and they were set upon by these two thugs."
Kelly, a pharmacy technician specialist at Jefferson University Hospital, was strolling on Berks Street with his girlfriend, Maryelise Doyne, when the defendants walked by them.
Once behind the victims, the defendants announced a holdup, Doyne testified during a preliminary hearing last year.
Kelly refused to give the robbers any money and instead chased them with the help of a passing Good Samaritan. During the foot chase, McManus turned and fired a .25-caliber handgun eight times, striking Kelly with three bullets in the chest, leg and abdomen. He died at Temple University Hospital later that morning.
On Twitter: @MensahDean