MARIETTA — Two local men were found guilty of murder in the 2011 shooting death of Derek George Gray Jr. in Cobb County.
Jurors deliberated for about five hours Friday before finding Derek Lee Kemp, 32, and Alphonso “JRock” Watkins, 31, both of Marietta, and Harvey “Rucks” Hogans, 27, of New York, guilty of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery, concealing a death and possession of a firearm during the commission of crimes.
The men were found not guilty of another count of felony murder and one count of violating Georgia’s Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act.
Deputy Assistant District Attorney Jesse Evans told jurors Watkins had set up Gray to enable the trio to rob him.
Gray was shot July 1, 2011, inside a Ford Taurus that was later found burned in Union City. His body was found dumped in a wooded area off of Circle 75 Parkway near Cumberland Mall at Interstate 75 in Cobb County, on land that has since been sold to the Atlanta Braves organization for a proposed new baseball stadium.
“They were looking for an easy score, and they targeted Gray,” Evans said. “These men chose to conspire to commit these crimes.”
Cobb Superior Court Judge Mary E. Staley set sentencing for 8:30 a.m. Monday and all three could get life without parole.
Hogans was represented by Marietta attorney Jimmy Berry. Kemp was represented by attorneys Bruce Harvey and Kimberly Cornwell of Atlanta. Watkins was represented by Jill Stahlman of Marietta.
The trial began with jury selection Jan. 27.