A teenager has pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the stabbing death of 16-year-old Darren Brown, whose burned body was left in a wooded area behind a popular custard stand on Colvin Avenue last July.
Demetrius Huff, 18, pleaded guilty Friday before State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia. As part of his plea agreement, Huff agreed to a 25-year prison term, the maximum length possible for a first-degree manslaughter conviction.
Huff and Ezeiekile Nafi, 17, had been charged with second-degree murder, which carries a maximum of 25 years to life in prison, according to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office.
Huff and Nafi met Brown on July 4 on Hertel Avenue and lured him to a former railroad right of way off Colvin, where they took turns stabbing him to death, law enforcement officials have said. The two returned later with gasoline and burned his body to destroy evidence, police have said.
Brown’s body was discovered by a man walking his dog.
Huff and Nafi were arrested at Huff’s paternal grandmother’s home on Jewett Parkway several days after Brown’s body was found.
Jury selection for a joint trial for Huff and Nafi was to have begun last week. But Buscaglia granted a motion for separate trials after new evidence was brought forward last week that may have benefited one of the co-defendants over the other.
Jury selection for Nafi’s murder trial began Monday morning.
Huff’s name was added to the list of witnesses who may be called against Nafi.
“He is a potential witness at this point,” homicide prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable told Buscaglia before jury selection began.
Emily Trott, who is Nafi’s defense attorney, told the judge there were no plea discussions Monday.