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Two Men Shot and Killed a High School Basketball Player. Then, They Found Out He Was the Wrong Target.

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Source: Unsplash; Raleigh police

Mar. 24 2024, Published 2:02 p.m. ET

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Two North Carolina men killed an aspiring high school basketball player. Then, they found out he was the wrong target.

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Now, they are spending the rest of their lives behind bars.

In North Carolina, Superior court Judge Keith Gregory recently sentenced Roland Lacure, 49, and Elijah Umelo, 22, to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the shooting death of Desmond Jenkins. Both Lacure and Umelo were found guilty and convicted by a jury of first-degree murder.

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On Aug. 10, 2019, officers responded to the 9400 Block of Prince George Lane, nearby Old Lead Mine Road, in Raleigh, North Carolina, where they found Jenkins with multiple gunshot wounds. He was transported to WakeMed Hospital, but later died from his injuries, WBTV reported.

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According to witnesses during the trial, Lacure and Umelo sighted the victim and mistakenly identified him as someone who had robbed them previously. As a result, they shot Jenkins multiple times as he fled in fear of his life. Then, the victim collapsed on the sidewalk.

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“My son did not even know you. You didn’t even know him,” said the victim’s mother, Sherri Jenkins, during the victim impact statement, according to WRAL.

Jenkins had recently graduated from Sanderson High School, where he was a prominent basketball player. He had just been handpicked to play for Granville-Vance Community College.

Gregory also barred Lacure and Umelo from taking part in any education and vocational classes the North Carolina Department of Corrections offers. The prohibition would only be lifted after the duo had served at least 22 years in prison.

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