Facing a first-degree murder charge, Derik L. Maples was convicted Tuesday of lesser charges of second-degree felony murder and first-degree assault in a 2009 Rose Village slaying.
After deliberating about six hours, the panel of seven men and five women unanimously rendered the verdict Tuesday afternoon in Clark County Superior Court Judge John Wulle’s courtroom.
Sentencing is set for Nov. 9. Maples faces between nearly 40 years and 48 years in prison.
The jury decided against stiffer charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder, which both require proof of premeditated intent.
For felony murder, prosecutors need only prove that a felony was being committed at the time of a person’s death; in this case, it was delivery of a controlled substance.
Charges related to a drug deal gone bad the evening of Dec. 1, 2009, at the S&S Mart. During the incident, Maples’ friend, Justin Tyler, fired his gun, killing Clement Adams of Vancouver.
Tyler took a plea deal last spring and received 32 years in prison.
After hearing the verdict, Maples didn’t show any emotion, but his family members seated behind him started weeping. After jurors were excused, he stood up to be handcuffed and turned around, saying: “I’m going to appeal. It’s all right.”
Maples’ mother then approached defense attorney David Kurtz, asking how much prison time her son would face. Kurtz at first said he didn’t know. She pressed him further.
“Close to 40 years,” Kurtz said.
“Close to 40 years? For something he didn’t do?,” she said. “I’ll be back for sentencing.”
In the hallway, she began shouting obscenities and had to be detained by three custody officers. Other family members stood or sat on benches, weeping. After custody officers calmed her down, she exited the courthouse.
Testimony during the five-day trial indicated the fatal shooting resulted after Maples, 24, had arranged a cocaine deal at the convenience store. He asked his friend, Tyler, to accompany him as security.
When the two arrived, Maples got inside Adams’ Chrysler, while Tyler stood outside. During the transaction, Maples realized Adams was trying to pay with counterfeit money. He jumped out of the car, shouting, “He robbed me.” Tyler then fired five rounds at the car.
Adams, 45, was shot in the head and died at the scene. Adams’ passenger, Tyshaun Foreman, was not injured.
The crux of the case was whether Maples should be held liable even though he didn’t pull the trigger. Defense attorney Kurtz argued against the first-degree murder charge, saying there was no evidence his client knew beforehand that Tyler would shoot.
Kurtz also argued against the lesser felony murder charge because Kurtz claimed the victim was a participant in the felony crime.
Senior Deputy Prosecutor Kasey Vu, however, underscored that the law does not treat a purchaser of delivery of a controlled substance as a participant in the crime. Maples and Tyler were the participants in the crime of delivery of drugs, he said.
Laura McVicker: www.twitter.com/col_courts; www.facebook.com/reportermcvicker; email@example.com; 360-735-4516.