Shooting victim remembered in Lexington vigil after 2 arraigned on charges

jwarren@herald-leader.comSeptember 5, 2013 

Trustin Jones, left, and Robert Guernsey

Hours after the court arraignment of two men charged in the fatal shooting of a 23-year-old Lexington man, about one hundred people gathered for a vigil at the intersection where he died.

Judge Kim Wilkie entered not-guilty pleas for Trustin B. Jones and Robert Guernsey in Fayette District Court Thursday afternoon. He scheduled preliminary hearings for Monday.

Jones, 20, is charged with murder and tampering with evidence in the shooting of Derek S. Pelphrey, 23. Guernsey, 33, is charged with complicity to murder.

Police said the shooting occurred shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday as Pelphrey was sitting in a car near the intersection of Spangler Drive and Ridgepoint Run on Lexington's south side.

A police report charges that Jones shot Pelphrey and "then discarded the gun that he used in the murder."

Police and divers from the Lexington Fire Department spent several hours Thursday afternoon searching Boone Creek off Athens-Boonesboro Road in what officers described as a "search for a weapon related to an ongoing investigation." But they had found nothing by the end of the day, police Lt. Chad Bacon said.

The location is in Clark County, just over the Fayette County line.

About 100 people, including teenagers, young adults and middle-age people, gathered at the shooting scene Thursday night to hold a vigil in memory of Pelphrey. Amir Shalash, who organized the event, said afterward that he and Pelphrey had been friends since meeting during their first year at Tates Creek High School.

"He was a good guy and everybody loved him," Shalash said. "He didn't deserve this."

People came to the event bringing candles, signs and bouquets of flowers, which they arranged into a small shrine next to the curb.

At the start of the vigil, Shalash placed 23 lighted white candles along the curb on Ridgepoint Run. That's one for each year of Derek Pelphrey's life, but Shalash said later that he hadn't planned to place that number of candles and that it had just happened that way.

Police said Pelphrey, who was shot in the neck, got out of the car, then collapsed on the street.

A passing motorist noticed Pelphrey just before 9 p.m. Tuesday and called police, thinking he had been hit by a vehicle.

Jones and Guernsey appeared in Fayette District Court just after noon Thursday for a video arraignment.

A $163,000 bond was set for Jones; Guernsey's bond was set at $50,000.

Jones also was arraigned on a first-degree robbery charge that stems from an Aug. 23 incident, according to court records.

In the Aug. 23 robbery case, Jones was identified from a photo lineup by the victim, according to an arrest warrant filed in district court. Officers were dispatched to the 300 block of Zandale Drive, where investigators learned that two men arrived at the victim's home in a gray Dodge Challenger.

The two men "brandished a firearm and made verbal demands," and took about $900, the warrant says.

During the robbery, the victim got into a struggle over the gun, which was fired twice inside the home, according to the warrant.

Investigators found a witness who said he saw Jones in the victim's basement. The victim later identified Jones as one of the two people who committed the robbery in his home.

Herald-Leader reporter Greg Kocher contributed to this story. Follow @HLpublicsafety via Twitter.com for breaking news.

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