Posted: Thursday, December 12, 2019. 1:56 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Supreme Court Justice Colin Williams found 30-year-old Valentine Baptist guilty of the murder of 19-year-old Devon Parham and set sentencing for next February 13.
An armed man on a bicycle approached Devin Parham and his cousin Victor on July 6, 2016, around 4 in the afternoon near First Choice Pharmacy on Cemetery Road. While Victor escaped, the gunman shot Devin several times and he died on the spot.
Police later found Baptist with a Glock nine-millimeter pistol thrown into a yard on Dean Street. The seven expended shells and two unused bullets recovered from the crime scene were matched to the firearm. He had pleaded guilty to possession of the firearm in 2018 and served a two-year prison sentence.
The court did not accept a submission of no case to answer by Senior Counsel Simeon Sampson after Crown prosecutor Shanice Lovell closed her case, and invited Baptist to give his defense. He said in unsworn testimony that he was at the corner of Allenby Street and Amara Avenue, about two blocks from the crime scene, that afternoon.
According to Baptist, he looked in the direction of Raccoon Street Police Station and he saw a man dressed in a green t-shirt riding fast on a bicycle, coming towards him. He said the man in the green shirt handed him a firearm and told him to follow him. Baptist said he then saw a police vehicle and he rode away on his bicycle. He said he got off his bicycle on Plues Street, then he threw the firearm in a yard on Dean Street.
But Justice Williams did not believe his explanation of how he came by the firearm and found him guilty.
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