Jefferson found guilty in death of U of M football player

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A jury in Memphis has found Devin Jefferson guilty of first degree murder in the perpetration of a robbery in the death of University of Memphis football player Taylor Bradford.

After the verdict was announced, Jefferson was automatically sentenced to life in prison.

Jurors reached a verdict Sunday morning after deliberating for hours but failing to reach a verdict Saturday.

Deliberations began at 8:30 Mother's Day morning.  Less than an hour later came a verdict no one expected.

"We, the jury, find the defendant guilty of murder in the perpetration of an attempted robbery as charged in the indictment," Judge Chris Craft said.

However, Judge Craft got a surprise.  Eleven of 12 jurors said guilty.  The one juror may have been caught up on the fact Jefferson did not pull the trigger.

"I'm going to ask ya'll to go back to the jury room and continue your deliberations," Judge Craft said.

Twenty minutes later, the jury announced a second verdict of guilty.  Judge Craft announced the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment for a first-degree murder conviction.

"The proof was there and it was up to the jury and they applied the law," Jimmie Bradford, the victim's father, said.

Prosecutors said Jefferson did not need to intend to kill Bradford or be present at the murder scene for him to be guilty of first degree murder in a perpetration of robbery.

The defense argued that the three other defendants in Bradford's murder changed Jefferson's plan and brought a gun without Jefferson's knowledge.  Those defendants are also charged with murder and will be on trial at a later date.

The jury's instructions stated, "when one enters into a scheme with others to commit a robbery and death ensues, all defendants are responsible for the death, regardless of who actually committed the killing and whether the killing was contemplated by the others."

The jury spent about eight and a half hours behind closed doors Saturday.  They asked for three smoke breaks, but never asked the judge a single question.

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