A Franklin County jury has found 27-year-old Trevor Scott Sands guilty of fatally shooting two men in several incidents in 2017.
Prosecutors said Sands fatally shot Jeannot Mendy, 32, on the Far East Side on April 24, 2017, while trying to rob him, and Gerald Talley, 63, fatally shot on May 8, 2017 at his home near Driving Park. while he was planning to rob there. him from firearms.
The jury ruled Monday morning against Sands, who police say lived on the streets of Columbus, after deliberating a total of less than four hours between Friday night and Monday morning.
The jury found Sands guilty on four counts of murder, one count of aggravated murder (all with firearms specifications), and two counts of having a weapon under handicap. The jury found Sands not guilty of one count of aggravated murder, and concluded that prosecutors have not proved that Mendy’s murder was committed during a robbery.
Franklin County Judge Andy Miller will sentence Sands on Oct. 4. Sands faces a minimum sentence of 26 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life without parole.
“It was satisfying to hear that justice was being done,” said Jeannot Mendy’s brother Pierre Mendy. “I am grateful to the justice system. My brother got the justice he deserved.”
More:Jury to decide whether crown witness is credible in trial of man for two Columbus murders
Sands’ co-defendant, 24-year-old Monae Cox, testified at trial that she drove Sands and another man, both wearing balaclava-like masks, to Talley’s house. She said she heard gunshots and that Sands boasted afterwards, “my ears are ringing.”
Cox also testified that she heard Sands alluding to Mendy’s death in other conversations. Cox said Sands pretended to buy something from Mendy online when he actually intended to rob him. Mendy was fatally shot while working on a motorcycle in a garage on Lowridge Drive.
As part of a deal with prosecutors, Cox pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and criminal assault in January 2021. In exchange for her plea and testimony against Sands, the prosecutors dropped a murder charge against her, which could have carried a life sentence.
Miller will sentence Cox on Tuesday.
Frederick Benton Jr., Sands’ attorney, unsuccessfully argued in his closing statement that Cox had not been a credible witness since she got a plea deal and changed her story several times during interviews with authorities.
After the ruling, Benton declined to comment.
Elizabeth Geraghty, a former Franklin County assistant district attorney who is now with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Columbus but remained on the case, said during closing arguments Friday that other evidence and other witnesses corroborated Cox’s testimony. That includes ballistic evidence that bullets from the two murder scenes match Sands’ .45-caliber pistol and cell phone records that put him in the area of the murders when they took place.
“This gun can’t lie,” Geraghty said Friday, holding the gun in an evidence bag.
Sands is currently serving a 15-year federal prison sentence for a series of robberies.
Court news:Columbus man convicted of deadly shooting; woman stabbing accomplice convicted
Hanged jury in another murder trial
Meanwhile, Franklin County prosecutors must decide whether to retrial a Reynoldsburg man after his murder trial last week resulted in a hung jury.
A county Common Pleas Court jury on Thursday failed to reach a unanimous verdict on whether Henry Borges, 38, had committed a murder in connection with the fatal shooting on December 1, 2020 of Ricky Rittenberry, 60, of South Linden.
The jury found Borges guilty on the charge of having a weapon under handicap, a third-degree felony. He will be sentenced on September 26 by Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Karen Phipps.
Janet Grubb, Franklin County’s first assistant district attorney, who chairs the prosecutor’s criminal department, said they will try the case again.
This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Franklin County Jury Finds Guilty in Double Murder Trial