Devin Kingdom, 24, was convicted in Fulton County Superior Court last week after being found guilty of murdering Cierra Ford, 25, at her residence at Avalon Townhomes on North River Drive. Ford was a student at Clark Atlanta University.
Kingdom was sentenced to life in prison plus 10 years, according to a press release from Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard.
Ford’s boyfriend, Tyrique Lobban, was also shot in the 2016 incident but survived.
Howard said in the release that in 2014 several New York gang members moved to Atlanta. They included Lobban, Kingdom, Joseph Clarke, Malik Ortiz, Gregory Battle and Jaber Brady.
Clarke, Ortiz, Battle and Brady lived with Lobban in his Sandy Springs apartment. According to the DA’s office, internal strife among the group developed over a battle about who should lead the gang and eventually Lobban asked them to move out in October 2016.
Once the three moved out they agreed to kill Lobban, according to the press release.
The next month, the three gang members carried out their mission to kill Lobban by entering into his apartment with weapons drawn, according to the release. They encountered Lobban’s 19-year-old roommate, Jabar Brady, and ordered him to leave the apartment.
Then Kingdom and Clarke kicked in the door of Lobban’s upstairs bedroom, found Lobban and Ford lying in bed. They shot Ford in the head with a shotgun and Lobban was shot three times but survived.
Although Kingdom was convicted of murder, the jury acquitted Ortiz of the homicide and unable to reach verdicts on 12 other counts, states the press release.
Shortly before the trial last week, Lobban’s roommate, Jabar Brady, a key witness for the state, committed suicide in New York.
“The gravity of these violent deaths never seems to end,” Howard said in the press release.
Federal marshals arrested Clarke, Kingdom, and Ortiz on Dec. 6, 2016, at a home in Brevard County, Florida, but Battle remains on the run. Clarke will face a trial in Fulton County Superior Court at a later date.
Ford’s brother, Clarence Ford, said she excelled academically. He said she wanted to be a journalist or a radio host, and she had plans to intern for an Atlanta radio station.
“Cierra was intelligent, charismatic, and she had a vibrant sense of humor that resonated with her friends and family,” Clarence Ford said in the release.
Detective JT Williams of the Sandy Springs Police Department was the lead investigator in the case.