Jury finds man guilty of murder

Published 10:01 pm Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A Suffolk man was found guilty of murder and multiple other felonies Wednesday after a three-day trial.

Mandocous Rivers, 20, was on trial for the shooting death of 23-year-old Aaron L. Hunter on March 11, 2016.

Rivers was found guilty of first-degree murder in Hunter’s death, as well as the robbery and malicious wounding of another man on the scene. He was also found guilty of armed burglary, abduction, conspiracy to rob, shoot, stab, cut or wound during a felony and five counts of use of a firearm during the commission of a felony, according to prosecutor Tom Shaia, who worked on the case along with Derek Colvin.

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According to testimony during the trial, Rivers and Markelyn L. Jones, 19, went to the apartment of Caleb Pittman that night in the Wilson Pines Apartments on East Washington Street. Pittman had stepped outside but came back in with his head bleeding and trying to keep an invader out of the apartment.

“Pittman told them his baby daughter was in there,” Shaia said, adding it was not true and only a ploy to keep the invaders out. “They said they were going in anyway. They didn’t care.”

One forced Pittman to the back of the apartment, and another came toward Hunter and another friend.

He fired two shots, one of which hit Hunter. The other was located lodged in a wall.

Witnesses identified Rivers as the one who shot Hunter. Blood on Rivers’ shoe was matched to Caleb Pittman.

Shaia said Hunter’s mother took the stand during the sentencing phase and forgave Rivers for what he did to her son. She also talked about how much the loss meant to her family, Shaia said.

The jury handed down the guilty verdict after about three hours of deliberation, Shaia said. After an additional hour deliberating on sentencing, they recommended a total sentence of 138 years to serve. A judge will impose the sentence at a later date.

The hearing ended past 8 p.m. on Wednesday night. The trial had begun on Monday morning.

Markelyn Jones pleaded guilty last year and is set for sentencing on Feb. 12.