A participant in events that led to the 2013 shooting death of Derek Pelphrey received a probated sentence and won’t have to serve any more jail time.
Desmond Jones, 27, was the driver of the car from which his cousin, Trustin Jones, fired the shot that killed Pelphrey, 23, a Bluegrass Community and Technical College student.
Desmond Jones pleaded guilty in 2015 to criminal facilitation to first-degree robbery. A murder charge against him was dismissed. His sentencing wasn't until now because a condition of his plea agreement was that he was to testify at the trial of Trustin Jones, 24.
But the case was resolved without a trial when Trustin Jones pleaded guilty in October to murder and first-degree robbery. Trustin Jones acknowledged in court that he was the shooter.
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Fayette Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine could have imposed a five-year prison sentence but chose instead to put Desmond Jones on probation for two years.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Andrea Williams and defense attorney Rawl Kazee agreed that Desmond Jones had cooperated with authorities and that he had no other violations since entering a plea in 2015. He served 558 days in jail before being released.
Pelphrey’s family appreciated that Desmond Jones had cooperated with police and was willing to testify at trial, Williams said. Goodwine said she believed Desmond Jones “was truly remorseful for what has happened.”
Pelphrey was shot Sept. 3, 2013, near the intersection of Ridgepoint Run and Spangler Drive in south Lexington.
A third man, Robert Guernsey, acknowledged in open court in November that he was the one who set in motion the events that led to Pelphrey's death.
Guernsey, 37, believed that Pelphrey carried narcotics and a large amount of cash, and he plotted to have Trustin Jones rob Pelphrey.
The Joneses followed Pelphrey’s vehicle and then confronted him near the intersection. Their two cars were side by side, and Trustin Jones told Pelphrey to throw the drugs and money through the window.
But when another car approached, Desmond Jones accelerated the car he was driving and Trustin Jones said that’s when he shot Pelphrey.
Guernsey pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter and first-degree robbery. He and Trustin Jones are scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 21.