A 15-year-old Buffalo youth was convicted today of murder in the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old last summer on an East Side street, following a fight about a photo posted on Twitter.
Jurors deliberated more than seven hours Thursday and today before convicting Myles Taylor, who was 14 at the time of the shooting of Kelmyne Jawon Jones. Taylor was accused of firing a single gunshot into Jones’ back as Jones walked away after the fight with another individual July 6.
Taylor was charged as a juvenile offender and faces a maximum prison sentence of 15 years to life instead of the maximum 25 to life an adult would face. He was convicted of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
Judge Michael L. D’Amico set sentencing for April 28.
In their summations, the prosecutor and defense attorney focused on the testimony of the teenage friend, who was hanging out with Taylor and some other friends on a Northland Avenue porch.
Taylor’s friend, who is now 17, testified that he moved out of state with his mother last September after he heard about online threats against him following a statement he gave police identifying Taylor as the shooter.
He testified that after he and Jones had stopped fighting, he saw Taylor shoot Jones. He said Taylor later told him he had shot Jones after Taylor was hit on the back of the head. Taylor also told the friend that he hid the gun along a fence behind another friend’s house.
That friend testified that Taylor called him about 3 a.m. the next day and asked him if he had the gun and that when the friend said no, Taylor told him he would come and retrieve it.
Police never found the semi-automatic pistol, but they did find a shell casing in tall grass at the shooting scene and a bullet recovered from the victim’s chest.
Homicide prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable told the jury that the teen fighter’s testimony was consistent with other testimony tying Taylor to the shooting.
But defense attorney John J. Molloy questioned the fighter’s testimony, noting that he was the only one who had a beef with the victim and that he admitted keeping a shotgun under his bed for protection and bullets in a drawer in his bedroom.
The fighter testified that he and Jones battled over a photo of Jones and three or four other teenagers taken on the fighter’s porch when he was not home and posted on Twitter last May.
He said the photo and the caption posted with it offended him and made him feel disrespected, but he said he didn’t see or hear from Jones until July 6 when he saw Jones and two others talking, laughing and pointing at him on the street.
He said he felt threatened and kept on walking. A block or two away, he ran into Taylor and a friend. He told them what had happened. He said Taylor showed him a gun.
As they headed for his house on Northland, they saw Jones and his friends again. “Let me get a fair one,” he yelled to Jones, indicating he wanted a fair fistfight with him. He said Jones and his friends didn’t respond.
Later that day, he said he was hanging out on his porch with Taylor and two other friends when he saw Jones and six other teenagers walking down Northland from Humboldt Parkway.
He said he went to meet Jones in the middle of the street; Taylor and the others followed him.
“Give me a fair one,” he told Jones, and they started slamming each other on the ground. The fight was over in less than a minute, he said, and the combatants started walking away.
He said he noticed one of his friends fighting another teenager on the sidewalk, and he tried to break up the fight. He said he then looked over at Taylor, who had a gun. He said he saw Taylor shoot Jones, who was standing alone across the street.
The witness said he ran with one of his friends to the friend’s house, where Taylor joined them. He said Taylor told them he had been hit on the back of the head during the fight, turned around and fired his gun, then fled. He said Taylor hid the gun along a fence behind the friend’s house.
Besides the fighter’s testimony, Curtin Gable cited his friend’s testimony that he heard the gunshot and saw Taylor run. He also testified that Taylor came to his house after the shooting and told him that he had shot Jones and hidden the gun behind the friend’s house. He said Taylor called him early the next morning and told him he would retrieve the gun.
Curtin Gable also cited a woman who called herself a nosy neighbor and testified that she saw a boy with braided hair who lived down the street on Northland get a gun from under the bushes in front of her house and shoot Jones. The neighbor identified Taylor as the shooter.