An Omaha man will serve at least 32 years in prison for killing a man he suspected of beating up his girlfriend's sister.
Devaughn Griffin, 22, broke down crying as he apologized to the judge and to the family of his victim, Jer'ray Moore, for the April 6 shooting at the Cherry Tree Apartments near 83rd Street and Underwood Avenue.
Douglas County District Judge J Russell Derr sentenced Griffin to 60 to 70 years in prison. With mandatory minimum gun sentences, Griffin must serve 32 1/2 years in prison before he is eligible for parole.
Griffin told the judge he regretted his actions and their effect on Moore’s family members, who packed the courtroom.
Griffin, who had no prior felony convictions, also lamented that his own two children will now have to “grow up in this crazy society” without a father.
Moore's relatives, including more than a dozen brothers and sisters, packed the courtroom.
His mother, Tricia Moore, said Griffin should have received a life sentence. She accused Griffin, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, of premeditation in the killing.
Police and prosecutors say Griffin pulled the trigger because he was angry that Moore, 23, had beaten up Caprina Smith, the sister of Griffin's girlfriend.
After selling marijuana to Smith, Griffin and friend LaMichael Fewell were outside the apartment complex when they heard Smith screaming.
The men left and went to Griffin’s apartment near 108th and Pratt Streets to get his “burner” — his gun. They returned and went inside the apartment shared by Moore and Smith.
At some point, Moore entered the room and said, "What's up?" or "Watch out" to Griffin. Griffin pulled a gun from his waistband and fired a single bullet into Moore's stomach.
Griffin's attorney, Michael Bianchi, said Moore had a history of roughing up Smith. Smith acknowledged their turbulent relationship during depositions in the case, Bianchi said.
Moore’s mother denied that. Tricia Moore said the couple lived with her for four years and never fought.
Moore’s older sister, Mattice Mayo, said her brother had spoken in church and started a church program called “The Thug Life” — aimed at keeping kids away from trouble.
“I’m not saying he was perfect,” Mayo said, “but he was changing for the better.”