Case of man accused in 2009 murder goes to jury

He’s accused of being accomplice in drug deal gone bad

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: October 17, 2011, 7:12 PM

 

In his closing statement, a defense attorney for a drug dealer charged as an accomplice to a 2009 Vancouver murder told jurors that the most his client was guilty of was “being stupid.”

“He’s guilty of selling drugs to people who really needed them,” attorney David Kurtz said. “He didn’t assault anybody. He didn’t shoot anybody. There was no plan.”

A Clark County Superior Court jury of seven men and five women received the case late Monday afternoon. They were sent home and will return Tuesday to resume deliberations.

Jurors are deciding whether Derik Maples, 24, is guilty of first-degree murder and attempted murder as an accomplice to convicted shooter Justin Tyler. Tyler is serving a 32-year prison term.

The case surrounds a drug deal gone bad. Maples had brought along Tyler as security when they met the victim, Clement Adams, and a second man, Tyshaun Foreman.

The killing occurred on the evening of Dec. 1, 2009. Jurors heard that when the two arrived at S&S Mart in Rose Village, Maples climbed inside Adams’ Chrysler while Tyler stood outside as lookout.

They were there to sell 10 grams of cocaine for $300.

When Adams handed over apparently counterfeit bills, Maples jumped out of the car and shouted that he had been ripped off. That’s when Tyler fired his 9mm handgun five times at the car, killing Adams, jurors were told.

 In his closing argument, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Kasey Vu said the circumstances surrounding the shooting show that Maples was an accomplice. The defendant admitted to enlisting an armed man to accompany him, Vu said.

“The defendant saw Justin Tyler get the gun. He knows that Justin Tyler has shot someone and went to prison,” Vu said. “Knowing all that … when he steps out of that vehicle, what do you think his expectations are of Justin Tyler? Did he expect Justin Tyler to do nothing or did he expect Justin Tyler to act?”

“Derik Maples made no attempt whatsoever to stop Justin Tyler from shooting,” he said.

After Tyler fired his gun, the two ran off, changed clothes and fled to Portland, Vu said, adding that Maples never tried to help the victim.

But defense attorney Kurtz countered that Maples’ actions don’t show he knew Tyler’s intentions.

Kurtz said his client had no idea Tyler was going to shoot — the two never formed a plan beforehand and he never directly asked him to shoot. Kurtz admitted that his client brought along Tyler — but said it was just for intimidation.

The defense attorney said Maples shouted that he had been ripped off simply as a reaction, not as a signal for Tyler to shoot.

Kurtz also pointed out that there was limited evidence of premeditation, one of the requirements for a first-degree murder conviction.

“The state is saying we have premeditation in seven seconds,” Kurtz said. “I submit to you that there has to be something more than what the state has” to prove first-degree murder.

Prosecutor Vu argued that the premeditation was shown in Tyler’s pause between gunshots.

If jurors don’t convict Maples of first-degree murder, they could choose to convict him of second-degree felony murder. To prove felony murder, prosecutors need only show that Maples was committing a felony at the time of the death; in this case, it’s alleged to be delivery of a controlled substance.

Maples’ trial in Judge John Wulle’s courtroom has lasted five days.

Laura McVicker: www.twitter.com/col_courts; www.facebook.com/reportermcvicker; laura.mcvicker@columbian.com; 360-735-4516.

Laura McVicker: www.twitter.com/col_courts; www.facebook.com/reportermcvicker; laura.mcvicker@columbian.com; 360-735-4516.