Darryl D. Jones Jr. was trying to steal marijuana from Stephen C. Sanders on Marigold Street on the night of Dec. 5, 2011.
Instead, Jones shot Sanders to death. Now Jones, 24, could get 25 years to life in prison after he was convicted Thursday of two counts of second-degree murder, first-degree attempted robbery and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
Jones, of Hertel Avenue, is scheduled to be sentenced by State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia on March 26.
Prosecutors accused Jones of arranging to meet Sanders, 28, to buy marijuana from him.
“This defendant turned a marijuana deal into an attempted robbery and, ultimately, into a murder,” homicide prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable told jurors in her closing argument.
The key for the prosecution was the identification of Jones as the shooter. Two men who were in an Envoy sport utility vehicle during the fatal attack testified that Jones was the shooter.
Jones’ defense lawyers said they plan an appeal. “Clearly, the jury gave credit to the eyewess testimony. We believe there were flaws,” said defense lawyer Jeremy D. Schwartz, whith Dean E. Lilac Jr., represented Jones.
District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III said prosecutors prevailed despite the lack of a confession, DNA evidence or surveillance video.
“Working with what they had, dedicated prosecutors from the Erie County District Attorney’s Office were able to present a compelling case, prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and secure a conviction,” Sedita said.
Jurors heard from John F. Daniels, 28, Sanders’ cousin, who was with Sanders that night.
Daniels, a collections agency manager, testified that Sanders picked him up that night before the meeting.
At the meeting site, another SUV pulled up in front of Sanders’ Envoy.
A middleman named “Kev” got out of Jones’ vehicle and got in Sanders’ vehicle. After a short time, he returned to Jones’ SUV. Then the middleman returned to Sanders’ vehicle and asked “for a sample.”
Daniels said he warned his cousin to drive away if anybody else got out of the other SUV.
Daniels said Jones got out of his vehicle, walked toward the Envoy while holding a black Glock handgun and said, “You know what time it is.”
Jones pointed the gun through rear driver-side door, Daniels said.
Daniels, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, said he grabbed the gun with one hand and struggled with Jones for it.
Jones was wearing black clothing, including a hoodie, but did not wear a mask, Daniels said. “I’ll never forget his eyes, forever,” Daniels told jurors.
Jones pulled away from Daniels with the gun, and Daniels said he yelled at Sanders to drive off. Sanders started to drive.
Daniels said he saw a flash of gunfire and heard Sanders saying “Oh, my God!” and then leaning toward the driver door.
The vehicle drove over a curb and hit a couple of cars and a pole, Daniels said.
Curtin Gable and Assistant District Attorney Sydney V. Probst prosecuted Jones for the second time after his first trial ended with a hung jury.