Three men will serve life in prison without parole for the 2011 shooting death of Derek George Gray, Jr., the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office said Monday.
Last week, Harvey ‘Rucks’ Hogans, 27, of New York; Derek Lee Kemp, 32, of Marietta; and Alphonso ‘JRock’ Watkins, 31, of Marietta, were found guilty of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery, concealing a death and possession of a firearm during the commission of crimes. The jury deliberated for five hours.
Gray, 22, was shot in a Ford Taurus in July 2011. The vehicle was found burned in Union County and Gray’s body was discovered off of Circle 75 Parkway in Cobb County, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last week. Gray’s wife was pregnant at the time of his death.
On Monday, Cobb Superior Court Judge Mary Staley granted Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Jesse Evans’ request for the three men to serve life without parole, according to a District Attorney’s Office press release.
The sentence was required for both Kemp and Watkins because they have prior felony convictions, the press release said. Hogans is believed to have been the one who fatally shot Gray.
The three were, however, found not guilty on an additional count of felony murder and one count of violating Georgia’s Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act. The trial for the three men began on Jan. 27 with jury selection.
“My heart hurts thinking he was in pain,” Kia Hansford, Gray’s older sister, said in court of her brother. “He was only married for six days. He never got to hold his son.”
Gray’s mother Helen Brown also addressed the court, saying that “the pain has been too much to bear.”
“I pray no other mother will have to experience the pain these defendants have caused me,” Brown said.