Jury finds 2016 murder suspect not guilty

Local News

The man arrested for a November 2016 shooting death of a man at a south-side gas station was found not guilty of the crime by a jury Wednesday.

Marquavious Jones, 29, of Fort Wayne was acquitted of the murder of 22-year-old Sha Rif, who was found shot in the parking lot of the Marathon gas station at Lafayette Street and South Clinton Street around 1:45 a.m. Nov. 29, 2016. Responders found him on the ground at the front door to the store. He was taken to a hospital in critical condition, but he would later die there.

In January 2017, police asked for the public’s help to find Jones, saying he was wanted for questioning in a homicide investigation. He was charged with murder in the case in June 2017 after several witnesses came forward and explained to police that the shooting happened as Rif gave Jones and another man a ride to a local bar.

A woman told police that as Rif was leaving a party, Jones asked him for a ride to a bar. Rif, Jones and another man known as “D” then left together, the woman said. The woman said Jones never liked Rif and was jealous, the affidavit said.

Police then spoke with another witness, who said she was at a home with Jones when she overheard him “bragging about this shooting,” the affidavit said. Jones reportedly said Rif was giving him a ride when his gun accidentally discharged and struck Rif. Jones then said Rif told him he wasn’t going to beg for his life, and “Marquavious unloaded his gun,” according to the affidavit.

Another witness told police that he saw Jones with a gun before he left with Rif and the other man, and then saw him showing off a gun that “takes .380 bullets,” the affidavit said.

That witness said the next morning, after he learned Rif had been killed, he found Jones and asked him what happened. Jones, with a “menacing smile,” replied, “I killed Sha Rif,” the affidavit said.

Jones reportedly explained he was trying to stuff his gun into his jacket so he could smuggle it into a bar when it discharged and “grazed” Rif. At that point, the witness said Jones said “he was going to have to kill Sha Rif because Sha Rif was going to tell on him, so he opened fire on him,” the affidavit said.

A jury found doubt in that after a three-day trial this week.

Jones had faced 75 years in prison. He was found not guilty on charges of murder and a firearm enhancement.

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