Daequahn Jones had plenty of opportunities with the juvenile justice system. But all he wanted to do was go back to the streets.
On Thursday, York County Common Pleas Judge Harry M. Ness pointed out what’s happened:
Jones, 21, of York, was minutes away from being sentenced on a third-degree murder conviction, after being found guilty Nov. 6 in the killing of NaGus Griggs. Both of their families’ lives have been affected. And the killing, Ness said, has also affected all of York County.
“We lost another citizen to absolutely meaningless violence,” he said. “Because you wanted to hang on the street with your buddies and pack a gun.”
Saying that Jones’ age was the only mitigating factor in the case, Ness sentenced him to serve 18 to 40 years in prison for the murder. He got an additional one to two years after pleading guilty earlier to fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer.
Chief Deputy Prosecutor Dave Maisch had asked the judge to hand down a sentence of 20 to 40 years for the murder charge. Jones has shown he’s a danger to society, Maisch said.
“If we could ask for more,” he said, “we would.”
Interactive map: York County homicides from 2007 to present
Meanwhile, Jones’ attorney, Heather Reiner, noted that her client was young when the crime happened. Reiner also said that Jones — who declined to speak — has had the support of his family.
Griggs, 18, a standout basketball player at the now-closed New Hope Academy Charter School, was shot and killed Sept. 8, 2014, while sitting in a car at East Princess and Charles streets in York. Another man, Troyvon Breeland, entered a plea last September to intimidation of a witness in the case.
Before Ness imposed the sentence, one of Griggs’ friends and two family members briefly spoke.
They described Griggs as a goofy kid, who wanted to go to college. He had dreams of playing in the NBA. And they talked about how their lives have changed.
“God might forgive him. I’m not. I can’t,” said Natalie Brown, Griggs’ mother, who occasionally wiped back tears as she spoke, of Jones. “He tore my whole life apart — for no reason.”
Contact Dylan Segelbaum at 771-2102.