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Fourth person convicted in 2013 shooting death of Riverside High grad in Durham

JeJuan Taylor, a Riverside High graduate and Duke University employee, was fatally shot on April 18, 2013. Four people were charged in his death, and the first related trial started this month.
JeJuan Taylor, a Riverside High graduate and Duke University employee, was fatally shot on April 18, 2013. Four people were charged in his death, and the first related trial started this month.

A fourth person has been convicted in the 2013 murder of a Riverside High School graduate.

A Durham County jury last week found Rakeem Best, 26, guilty of first-degree murder and other crimes related to the fatal shooting of JeJuan Taylor in Durham.

Best, who was attending N. C. Central University when he was charged with murder, was sentenced to life in prison.

Timothy Moore, 26, and Thomas Clayton, 26, received similar sentences after being found guilty earlier this year.

Prosecutors have argued that Taylor’s death on April 18, 2013, stemmed from a drug-deal-turned-robbery planned by four people.

Police say Taylor was driving with two friends that evening when he stopped at Duke Manor apartments to sell marijuana to Hope Farley, but it was a setup.

Farley pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in a plea deal in which she agreed to testify against her three co-defendants in exchange for receiving a sentence of 10 to 13 years in prison.

Farley, now 24, has testified that the initial plan didn’t include hurting Taylor. The group had planned to arrange the drug deal and then rob Taylor when he arrived.

According to the plan, Clayton was to stay in the car while Farley, Best and Moore robbed Taylor, Farley said.

But Moore didn’t follow the plan, Farley said, and he ran up to Taylor’s car and started shooting.

The car crashed into a fence, and Best and Farley ran back to SUV Clayton was driving, Farley said.

Taylor, who was shot twice in the head, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Related stories from Durham Herald Sun

Virginia Bridges covers criminal justice in Orange and Durham counties for The Herald-Sun and The News & Observer. She has worked for newspapers for more than 15 years. In 2017, the N.C. Press Association awarded her first place for beat feature reporting. The N.C. State Bar Association awarded her the 2018 Media & Law Award for Best Series.


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