GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A Gwinnett County jury has found a teenager guilty of felony murder in the killing of a pizza delivery driver.
The jury also found Reginald Lofton, 15, guilty of robbery.
During final testimony Thursday, jurors watched video of the then 14-year-old Lofton begging police not to charge him.
The prosecutor in the case held up a picture of the victim in front of the jury. She told jurors it took two people to kill the pizza delivery man and one of them was right in front of them.
“And one of those people, is right here, ‘Ray Ray the Shootah,’” said prosecutor Sabrina Nizam.
“Ray Ray the Shootah” is what Lofton went by on social media. He claims it referred to his basketball skills. Prosecutors say it's related to pictures of him holding what turned out to be the gun used to kill pizza delivery man Shane Varnadore in March.
“It doesn’t matter who pulled that trigger, ladies and gentlemen. It doesn’t matter,” Nizam said.
Lofton put his head in his hands as the jury left the courtroom to begin its deliberations.
Lofton and family friend Jermaine Young are accused of killing the Papa John's delivery driver as they robbed him of several pizzas.
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The jury watched an hour-and-a-half interview police conducted with Lofton hours after the murder. The teen changed his story several times, ultimately admitting he was involved in planning the robbery, but claiming Young went rogue and killed Varnadore.
“Why did this guy get shot?” a detective asked Lofton. “I don't know. On the grave of my momma, I don't know why he shot him,” Lofton responded.
Lofton's attorney told jurors evidence supports her client's claim he did not pull the trigger.
“The physical evidence does not prove the version of events the state wants you to adopt in your deliberations... So don't do it,” said defense attorney Leanne Chancey.
It took the jury around two hours to reach its unanimous decision.
Lofton had hardly any reaction when the jury foreman read the verdict.
The victim’s mother sat quietly, unsure what the quick verdict meant.
“It’s one of those things you don’t know if it’s really good or really bad, so we were just thankful they came to the right decision,” Teresa Varnadore said.
Lofton’s family believes he is innocent.
“Yes, my brother didn’t do it,” his sister said.
The 15-year-old could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.
He will be sentenced early next year.
Cox Media Group