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Jury: Slaying of Na'Gus Griggs was 3rd-degree murder
Jurors on Friday took three hours to find a York City man guilty of third-degree murder for the shooting death of 18-year-old Na'Gus Griggs.
The jury acquitted Daequahn "Dae-Dae" Jones of first-degree murder, meaning the 21-year-old won't spend the rest of his life in prison.
Defense attorney Heather Reiner expressed disappointment after hearing the verdict. She had argued to jurors that someone in the car Griggs was riding in had brandished a gun and that Jones was defending himself when he fired into the car.
"I was hopeful they would go for voluntary manslaughter," she said, even though "our argument was really self-defense."
Chief deputy prosecutor David Maisch told jurors the gun — a two-shot derringer — remained in the glove compartment of the car, and that Jones killed Griggs "for who he was — not for anything he did."
Maisch said he's satisfied with the jury's decision.
"I'm happy they found this was a murder, he said.
Common Pleas Judge Harry M. Ness set sentencing for 9 a.m. Dec. 31.
Jones' co-defendant, Troyvon Breeland, had his murder charges dropped in exchange for pleading no contest to witness intimidation and cooperating with prosecutors.
The homicide: Jones and Breeland were among a crowd of people near the corner of East Princess and South Pine streets about 7 p.m. Sept. 8, 2014, when Griggs, Carlos Ramos and Niam Jamison drove through the area and stopped for a red light at the corner, according to preliminary hearing testimony.
At that hearing, an eyewitness testified that when Ramos, Griggs and Jamison pulled up to the light, Breeland twice said, "Let that thing ring."
Jones fired at Griggs immediately after Breeland made the statements, according to the witness, who said she saw Griggs' head snap to the side.
He was rushed to York Hospital, where he died several hours later, according to the York County Coroner's Office. Ramos testified he and Jamison abandoned their dying friend and fled.
Bad blood: Four days before he was fatally shot, Griggs, of the west end of York City, predicted he would die on the streets or spend his life in prison because people were angry at his younger brother.
Now 19, Flair Griggs was 16 when he fatally shot 17-year-old Joseph Gomez Jr. in self-defense outside the McDonald's on South George Street in April 2013.
Flair Griggs is serving a three- to seven-year prison sentence for illegal firearm possession and reckless endangerment. Murder charges were dropped.
At the end of Na'Gus Griggs' Facebook post predicting his own possible death, he wrote "#600" and used six cartoon images of handguns.
York City's west-end neighborhood gang, or "crew," calls itself the 600s or the 600 Boyz.
He and his friends were riding through the south side of town when he was killed.
Na'Gus Griggs played basketball for New Hope Academy and had hoped to attend college, according to his former coach, who said Griggs wanted to escape the streets but was conflicted.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org.