Miguel Camacho had thought maybe he’d be happy when the verdicts arrived. As he hoped, a DeKalb County jury on Thursday found two men guilty of murder, and a third guilty of a lesser role, in the deaths of his young daughter and her friend, two executions that were purportedly precipitated by an insult to a Bloods gang leader.
After nearly four years of grief for 20-year-old Shaniqua Camacho, it could seem natural for a father to be pleased seeing convictions. Finally, he might think, he can breathe and begin to move on.
But as this father walked out of the courthouse in downtown Decatur and began the 4-hour drive home to Savannah, he felt very little.
“I’m not excited. I’m not upset,” he said in a phone interview from the car.
He praised the prosecutors for putting up a good case, because it made sense intellectually that they’d done well. But his gratitude wasn’t celebratory.
He did feel a pang of anger, remembering some of the testimony during the week-long trial, especially from one witness who described how the suspects acted after shooting Shaniqua Camacho and Sonia Williams.
On May 19, 2014, Williams, 21, was in an argument at an apartment with Malcom “Dot” Brown, the alleged 9 Trey Bloods gang leader, and called him a name, according to defendant Demetre Mason. Prosecutors said Brown ordered Williams and Shaniqua Camacho dead, even though the latter didn’t know any of the gang members and was only there because she was catching up with Williams, an old friend from middle-school.
The women were beaten, authorities said, then escaped the apartment in the Snapfinger area outside Decatur on foot, only to be chased down and shot.
At trial, Miguel Camacho said, he was unnerved to hear testimony about how the crew acted after the murders: Mason throwing up and crying, Frankland Henderson bragging.
“Then they went to a club,” Miguel Camacho said. “When I heard this, I was thinking these guys are sub-human.”
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The father spent a few hours after the verdicts calling and texting friends and family to share the news: Mason and Henderson were convicted of murder, gang activity and other charges; Michael Jenkins was found guilty of aggravated assault and gang activity.
The reaction Miguel Camacho got was positive. Everyone was happy for him and happy his daughter got justice. “It may hit me later tonight,” the father said.
But he knows the case is far from over. The men won’t be sentenced for a couple weeks, and then there is the matter of hearings and trials for the other several defendants, including Brown.
Maybe when it’s all done he can feel satisfied.
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