Crime

1st of 6 men sentenced in Durham man’s 2016 murder in Orange County

File photo
File photo

The first of six men charged with shooting a Durham man outside an Orange County community center will spend the next 25 years to 31 years in prison.

Terry Glenn Jones Jr., 24, of Durham, accepted an Alford plea of second-degree murder in the Jan. 18, 2016, death of Tevin Kendrick, 22, of Buxton Street in Durham. The Alford plea means Jones accepted a guilty plea but maintains his innocence.

Orange County Assistant District Attorney Byron Beasley said the prosecution only agreed to the plea at defense attorney Robert Trenkle’s request and because of potential federal charges related to the case.

Jones will receive credit for more than 27 months served in the Orange County jail while awaiting trial and, as a condition of his plea deal, will be housed separately from his co-defendants in the murder.

Terry Jones2.jpg
Terry Glenn Jones Jr. Contributed

Jones’ other charges — possession of a firearm by a felon and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder — were dismissed. He could have faced life in prison if convicted of the original first-degree murder charge.

Four others are charged with murder in Kendrick’s death:

Devon Antonio Harris, of 419 E. Geer St., Durham

Barry Dion Holt, of 305 Chandler Road, Durham

Jermauciyae Rysuan Abram, of 1012 E. Sherwood Drive, Apt. E, Durham

Andre Lamar Dixon, of 2211 Concord St., Durham

A fifth man, Savian Jacoby Turrentine, of 4801 Danube Lane, Apt. 727, Durham, is charged with being an accessory after the fact to a felony.

Beasley said Orange County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to 911 calls from neighbors who heard gunshots around 2:15 p.m. on Jan. 18. One caller also reported seeing a dark-colored Chevrolet Malibu rapidly leaving the area, he said.

Deputies found Kendrick dead with eight gunshot wounds behind a white Nissan Altima in the Efland-Cheeks Community Center parking lot. The center, just north of U.S. 70, next to Efland-Cheeks Elementary School, was closed at the time.

The car was still running with its trunk open, Beasley said. He noted that deputies also found a large number of shell casings at the scene from 380-caliber, 45-caliber, 40-caliber and 9mm handguns.

An autopsy did not recover any 380-caliber bullets from Kendrick’s body, Beasley said.

Jailhouse witness

The prosecutor outlined a convoluted case that unraveled over four months using fingerprints, surveillance videos and a series of interviews and interrogations.

A jailhouse witness told investigators twice that Kendrick was set up because the men thought he was going to rob them, Beasley said.

The witness, who shared a Durham County jail cell with Jones, initially said Jones told him that he, Dixon, Holt and Harris killed Kendrick. Turrentine also was there, but did not shoot Kendrick, the witness said.

He later changed his story — after talking with Harris, Dixon and Holt — to say that Dixon and Harris set up the murder, Beasley said. The witness also changed his story to suggest Jones might not be the shooter, he said.

Video surveillance showed the white Altima, which another man had rented and given to Kendrick earlier that day, traveling on U.S. 70 toward the community center, he said. It was followed by a black Chevrolet Malibu, which Jones’ girlfriend let him drive, and a bronze Nissan Altima, which Dixon’s mother had rented, he said.

The video footage later showed the Malibu and the bronze Altima leaving the community center toward Durham, but not the white Altima, Beasley said.

Turrentine, who was identified by a fingerprint on the white Altima, told investigators that he and Harris met the others at a Durham hotel. He then traveled with Kendrick to the community center, while the others followed, Beasley said.

At the center, Turrentine said he got in the car with Dixon, who told him “I think we’re going to have to leave [Kendrick],” Beasley said.

Turrentine told investigators that Jones shot Kendrick first, followed by Harris, Holt and Dixon, Beasley said. Abram later confirmed which defendants used the handguns involved in the murder, he said.

‘Perfect for me’

Beasley and Trenkle, the defense attorney, noted that members of both Jones’ and Kendrick’s families were in the courtroom for the hearing.

Kendrick’s mother, Myra Sneed, didn’t think that she could make it through a statement about her son’s death, Beasley said, but she wrote something and asked him to read it.

Kendrick was not perfect, “but he was perfect for me,” Sneed said in the statement. The murder left her planning for a funeral instead of a wedding because of people who were supposed to be his friends, she said; her hope is for justice and closure.

“Today, I hope to tell all the mothers in here to keep their children close and know what they’re into. They really need our guidance,” Sneed said. “Tevin left us four beautiful children, and they really help me make it through and keep his memory alive.”

Superior Court Judge Bryan Collins thanked Sneed and other family members for coming to court.

“I could tell who you were by the looks on your faces, and I’m sorry,” Collins said. “I have to hear this kind of case way too often, but anybody hearing your words might learn something.”

Collins also thanked Jones’ family for being at the hearing.

“I appreciate you being here too, very much. You’d be amazed how many people go off to prison all by themselves, and people shouldn’t have to do that.”

Tammy Grubb: 919-829-8926; @TammyGrubb
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