3 guilty of killing student during Craigslist robbery
SAN DIEGO — Three men who robbed and killed a college student by luring him with Craigslist ad for a laptop computer are guilty of murder and other charges.
The jury reached its decisions Wednesday in the trial of Rashon Abernathy, Seandell Jones and Shaquille Jordan after four days of deliberations, but Judge Kerry Wells delayed reading the verdict until Thursday morning.
Abernathy was found guilty with 19-year-old friends Jones and Jordan of 1st degree murder in the May 11, 2011, robbery-murder of 18-year-old Garrett Berki, a 2010 graduate of La Jolla High School.
Abernathy, 18, was also found guilty of stealing $600 from a Navy man who responded to a Craigslist ad to buy a similar computer on May 5, 2011.
In addition to murder and robbery, the jury found the defendants guilty of shooting into an occupied vehicle and auto theft. The defendants were acquitted of an allegation that the crimes were committed for the benefit of a street gang.
The defendants face sentences of 25 years to life in prison when they are sentenced, Deputy District Attorney Kristian Trocha said.
In his closing argument, Trocha said Berki died because Abernathy “brought a gun to a robbery.”
The prosecutor said Berki went to Paradise Hills about 10 p.m. with his girlfriend to buy a MacBook Pro computer advertised on Craigslist for $600. The defendants grabbed the money and the victims’ cell phones and got into a stolen car driven by Jordan, he said.
Berki and his girlfriend were headed to report the theft when he spotted the defendants’ car and gave chase on state Route 54, Trocha said. The cars exited the freeway several miles away and ended up front-to-front in a cul-de- sac.
Abernathy allegedly fired one shot through the windshield of the victims’ car, striking Berki in the shoulder. He died about 45 minutes later.
Jordan drove off but crashed the car in a nearby cul-de-sac and the defendants ran off, only to be arrested a short time later, Trocha said