Two teenagers are now guilty of the murder of another teenager.
Ke’Ovion “Keeter” Seay was shot dead near the River’s Edge Apartments in Covington on August 3, 2019. He’d attended the neighborhood’s annual Old Timers Festival, a long-standing tradition in the Eastside neighborhood.
According to investigators, Seay’s death was brought about by a feud on the social media app Snapchat involving his cousin Brandon Hambrick, 17, and Seay’s younger brother.
Hambrick and DeAngelo Jones-Smith, then 16 years old and now 18 years old, armed themselves with handguns and came to Covington to look for Seay’s brother.
Instead, they found Seay and attacked.
Hambrick and Jones-Smith, both from Newport, were charged in November 2014 on an accessory charge in murder.
This week, after just over an hour’s deliberation, Hambrick was found guilty by a Kenton County jury. The jury recommended a 45-year prison sentence.
Jones-Smith pleaded guilty to first degree manslaughter and is expected to receive 15 years in prison. Jones-Smith testified against Hambrick, who is believed to have fired the fatal shots, as part of his agreement with prosecutors.
Both were tried as adults.
Prosecutors told the jury that Jones-Smith took his gun to the police a few days after the shooting. Ballistic tests showed the Jones-Smith cartridge cases were found at the opposite end of the apartment complex where Seay was killed. The grenade casing, only yards from Seay’s body, did not match Jones-Smith’s weapon.
Hambrick’s gun was never found.
All witnesses stated that Hambrick and Jones-Smith were the only people who fired guns at the crime scene. The evidence also included incriminating statements Hambrick made to witnesses in the days following the shooting and on recorded prison visits following his arrest.
At the end of the three-day trial, it took the jury just over an hour to agree that Hambrick was guilty of the murder.
Hambrick is sentenced on August 23 by Kenton District Judge Kathleen Lape. He is expected to remain in the Northern Kentucky Regional Youth Prison until his eighteenth birthday.
“It is evident that the jury has agreed that murder is no less serious since it was committed by a teenager,” said Assistant Kenton Co. Commonwealth attorney Aaron Levinson.
“It’s really frustrating to see so much heartache and pain resulting from a stupid Snapchat feud,” said Assistant Kenton Co. Commonwealth attorney Kate Homan
“To say this murder was pointless would be a huge understatement,” Levinson said.
“It’s still hard to believe that someone would kill your own cousin, but he did,” said Homan.
Commonwealth attorney Rob Sanders praised both his assistants, the Covington Police Department and the Eastside Community for coming together to ensure justice is done.
“The Covington Police Department did a great job controlling a very messy crime scene and then doing a solid investigation,” said Sanders, “but none of us can do our job without the support of our community and it’s great to see the East Side Step up to watch against violence in their neighborhood. “
Photo: Ke’Ovion Seay graduating from Holmes High School (RCN file)