COLUMBIA — A Boone County jury found a Columbia man guilty Wednesday night of second-degree murder, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon.
The jury deliberated for almost three hours before convicting Anthony Tyree Graves, 20, on all three counts in the shooting death of Deaudre Johnson, who was 17. The crime happened at Trinity Place and Switzler Street in central Columbia on March 12, 2012.
Graves took the stand Wednesday afternoon in an attempt to prove the shooting was an act of self-defense. He told jurors that he'd been involved in a dispute earlier that night on Trinity Place and that he had an ongoing feud with Kentavie Mullins, whom he'd beaten up.
On Tuesday, Que'monn Wilkerson gave his account of what happened that night and testified that Graves told him after Johnson's death that he'd shot the wrong person and that he intended to shoot Mullins.
Graves testified that he and Wilkerson met up with Mullins on Trinity Place and that Mullins asked for a rematch. Graves said he felt threatened by the group after a man wearing a red shirt pulled out a gun.
He testified that the man told them: "Boy, you better hope you make it back to the car."
Graves said he ran from the group, along with Wilkerson, toward his car, which he'd parked in a driveway on Trinity Place earlier in the night.
Once they reached his car, Graves drove south on Trinity Place. As he was going south, he heard a "loud pop" hit his car, he testified. Believing the sound to be gunfire, Graves said he grabbed his 22-caliber revolver, which was sitting beside him, and fired two shots out of the open driver's side window.
Wilkerson testified Wednesday that he too heard the loud noise, but he didn't believe what he'd heard was gun shots.
But the jury was apparently unconvinced by Graves' account of the shooting and found him guilty. They also deliberated Wednesday night on a sentence and came back with a recommendation of 30 years in prison for second-degree murder and 20 years for armed criminal action.
The third charge, unlawful use of a weapon, carries a 15-year minimum sentence.
Circuit Court Judge Kevin Crane, who presided over the case, will make a final decision on Graves' sentence at a hearing on June 10.
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