Three San Diego teenagers face long prison terms for robbing and shooting a college student who was killed while answering a Craigslist ad.
Rashon Abernathy, 18, Seandell Jones, 19, and Shaquille Jordan, 18, were convicted Thursday for their role in the death of Garrett Berki, 18, of Pacific Beach.
Authorities say the defendants lured Berki to the Paradise Hills on May 11, 2011 with a Craigslist ad offering a laptop computer. The three teenagers stole $600 from Berki and then drove off.
After Berki chased after the suspects, he was shot sitting behind the wheel of his car.
On Wednesday, jurors announced they had reached a verdict. When all parties gathered Thursday morning to hear the verdict read in court, the judge did not allow cameras in the courtroom.
The teenagers were convicted of first degree murder, robbery and shooting at an occupied vehicle. Jurors did not agree that the defendants acted as part of a street gang.
Family members of Abernathy and Jones wept quietly at the hearing. An attorney comforted a crying Abernathy, who was convicted of actually firing the gun that killed Berki.
Jones sat with his eyes closed, his head down and his hands clasped while Jordan swiveled in his chair.
Shaquille Jordan’s mother, Patricia Dykes, said her son may have appeared unaffected when the verdict was read because he feels he didn't do anything to cause Berki's death.
When Shaquille was behind the wheel, and realized there was a gun, he refused to go anywhere unless the gun was removed from the car she said.
“My son thought that Abernathy removed the gun and he never did,” she said.
She said her son was a straight-A student. She has no idea how her son ended up behind the wheel of a stolen car the night of the shooting.
“He’s never been in trouble before. He’s never been incarcerated before,” she said. “I don’t know what happened. He ended up with some guys that got him basically in some serious trouble.”
The defendants were all charged with murder, even though prosecutors said only one of them fired a gun.
Berki’s girlfriend Ali Faudoa was with him that night. She told NBC 7 San Diego that Berki followed the suspects hoping to get a license plate number.
When the two vehicles ended up in a cul-de-sac, the cornered suspects opened fire on Berki’s vehicle investigators said.
“I regret it now. I will admit it," Faudoa said one week after the shooting. "I was right there with Garrett. I trusted him with everything.”
Sentencing for Jordan, Jones and Abernathy will be January 25, 2013. Abernathy is facing a minimum of 50 years to life. Jordan and Jones face a minimum of 25 years to life.