Derrick Johnson
Derrick Johnson

A York County judge said the evidence against convicted murderer Derrick Eugene Johnson speaks for itself.

"If there was ever a prime example of a senseless death, this is it," Common Pleas Judge Gregory M. Snyder said. "A young man shot in the back, ostensibly over a slight ... (and) another young man found guilty of the murder ... will now spend the rest of his life in prison as a result of that."

The judge on Wednesday sentenced Johnson, 25, of York, to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the ambush killing of 21-year-old Trevahn Kent of York.

Evidence showed Johnson was "lying in wait until the opportunity presented itself to take the life of another human being," Snyder said.

Murder victim Trevahn Kent holds his son, Jazaii, as his father, Elgin Kent, cuts the boy’s hair. Trevahn Kent was fatally shot in York City on Feb.
Murder victim Trevahn Kent holds his son, Jazaii, as his father, Elgin Kent, cuts the boy's hair. Trevahn Kent was fatally shot in York City on Feb. 17, 2013. // Photo courtesy of Elgin Kent

A jury on June 11 found Johnson guilty of first-degree murder.

York City Police said Johnson and an accomplice — allegedly Damian Chaudre Banks — hid in an alcove for 45 minutes waiting for Kent to leave Temptations, a strip club at 617 E. Market St. in York City.

Senior deputy prosecutor Duane Ramseur told jurors Johnson was angry over a previous encounter at the strip club.

Earlier dispute: According to Ramseur, Johnson and Banks were with a group of people at Temptations on Jan. 13, 2013, where Kent and his friend, Lamin Goodman, were playing pool.

Goodman either asked the group to move so he could take his shot or bumped someone in the group with his pool cue while taking the shot, and the group members became angry, according to trial testimony.

A large fight erupted, according to Goodman. He testified he was knocked unconscious and Kent was stabbed in the side. No arrests were made.

More than a month later, shortly after 2 a.m. on Feb. 17, 2013, Kent and Goodman were in Temptations again when they spotted Johnson and Banks being refused entrance to the club.

Sneaked out: Goodman said he and Kent stayed inside the club for a time until the bartender sneaked them out a different door. The bartender first checked the street for Johnson and Banks, but saw no one, according to Ramseur.

Moments after walking out of Temptations, Kent was fatally shot with one .45-caliber bullet, Ramseur said.

Banks testified that when Kent and Goodman came out of the club, Johnson "pulled the gun off his hip," aimed its laser sight on Kent's back and fired. Banks claimed he wanted nothing to do with shooting Kent.

Grieving father: Elgin Kent spoke briefly in court at Johnson's sentencing hearing.

"He was my firstborn," the grieving father said, adding the impact on their large family has been massive.

He said a friend told him it's easier to build stronger children than "to repair broken men."

To that end, Elgin Kent said, "the defendant ... would be wise to give back" somehow to the community, "so this same senseless thing doesn't happen again."

Was raising son: "Trey" Kent had dedicated himself to raising his young son and was working hard to provide for the boy, Elgin Kent told The York Dispatch days after his son's murder.

At the time of his death, Trey Kent held a steady job at Texas Roadhouse in Springettsbury Township, and was taking on extra shifts there to make more money, his dad said.

Sometimes called "Luck," Trey Kent was an outgoing man.

"He lit up a room with his personality," Elgin Kent has said. "He was a loving, kind person. He had friends on all sides of town."

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com.