Sherelle Moore had “Property of Face Off” tattooed on her arm in 2011.
Face Off is the nickname of Demario Smith, her fiancé, and the two eventually married on June 27, 2012, in Buffalo City Hall.
At Smith’s murder trial last week, she explained the two married “so I couldn’t testify against him.” But she did testify against him, and an Erie County jury on Wednesday convicted the 25-year-old of second-degree murder for the May 19, 2012, slaying of a teenager who was waiting outside his pregnant girlfriend’s West Side apartment to take her shopping for a baby stroller.
Moore and a friend of Smith’s told jurors they saw him fatally shoot Shaquille R. Woods, 19, at Massachusetts and Shields avenues.
Smith faces up to 25 years to life in prison when sentenced on Nov. 22 by Judge Thomas P. Franczyk.
Woods had been waiting outside his girlfriend’s apartment at about 2 p.m. when a car with Smith, Moore and Gerald Yarborough pulled up.
Witnesses said Smith and Woods talked, then Smith got out of the car with a shotgun and fired one blast at close range into the victim’s stomach, leaving him lying in the middle of the street in a pool of blood, with his intestines hanging out. The car took off.
A witness who was stopped at a stop sign said he saw the victim get out of the rear of the white Chevrolet Impala and walk toward the trunk while the gunman got out of the front passenger seat and fired at him. The witness said he called 911 and rushed to the victim.
Moore, 33, the car’s driver, and Yarborough, 27, who was in the back seat, both testified that Smith, who was wearing gloves on a warm spring day, shot Woods. Smith asked Woods if he knew who he was, then identified himself as Face.
After shooting Woods, Smith got back in the front seat, and Moore drove away. “Sherelle was laughing,” Yarborough said, “because nobody was talking.”
Another witness testified that Smith had told him that he had to teach Woods a lesson after Woods refused to sell marijuana for him.
Both Moore and Yarborough admitted they had pleaded guilty to committing a robbery the morning of the killing and that they faced five to 15 years in prison under a plea deal instead of the maximum 25 years.
James F. Bargnesi, who heads the Homicide Bureau in the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, and Assistant District Attorney Paul Williams prosecuted the case.