Covington Teen's Killer Convicted
Two teens are now guilty in the murder of another teen.
Ke'Ovion "Keeter" Seay, was shot and killed near the River's Edge apartments in Covington on August 3, 2019. He had been attending the annual Old Timers Festival in the neighborhood, a long-standing tradition in the Eastside neighborhood.
According to investigators, Seay's death was precipitated 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, who was 16 at the time and is now 18, armed themselves with handguns and came to Covington looking for Seay's brother.
Instead, they found Seay and attacked.
Hambrick and Jones-Smith, both of Newport, were indicted on complicity to murder charges in November 2014.
This week, Hambrick was convicted by a Kenton County jury after slightly more than an hour of deliberation. The jury recommended a 45-year prison sentence.
Jones-Smith pleaded guilty to first degree manslaughter and is expected to receive a 15-year prison sentence. Jones-Smith, as part of his agreement with prosecutors, testified against Hambrick, who is believed to have fired the fatal shots.
Both were tried as adults.
Prosecutors explained to the jury that Jones-Smith turned his gun into police a few days after the shooting. Ballistics testing showed Jones-Smith's gun matched shell casings found on the opposite end of the apartment complex from where Seay was killed. Shell casing recovered just a few feet from Seay's body did not match Jones-Smith's gun.
Hambrick's gun was never recovered.
Witnesses all stated that Hambrick and Jones-Smith were the only people firing guns at the scene. Evidence also included incriminating statements Hambrick made to witnesses in the days after the shooting and on recorded jail calls after his arrest.
At the conclusion of the three-day trial, it took jurors only a little more than an hour to agree Hambrick was guilty of murder.
Hambrick will be sentenced by Kenton County Circuit Judge Kathleen Lape on August 23. He is expected to remain at the Northern Kentucky Regional Juvenile Detention Center until his eighteenth birthday.
"It's obvious the jury agreed murder is no less serious because it was committed by a teen," said Assistant Kenton Co. Commonwealth's Attorney Aaron Levinson.
"It's really frustrating to see so much heartache and pain resulting from a silly Snapchat feud," said Assistant Kenton Co. Commonwealth's Attorney Kate Homan
"To say this murder was senseless would be a tremendous understatement," Levinson said.
"It's still hard to believe someone would kill their own cousin, but he did," Homan said.
Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders commended both his assistants, the Covington Police Department, and the Eastside community for coming together to make sure justice was served.
"Covington Police did a great job to control a very chaotic crime scene and then follow up with a solid investigation," Sanders said, "but none of us can do our jobs without the support of our community and it's great to see the Eastside step up against violence in their neighborhood."
Photo: Ke'Ovion Seay graduating from Holmes High School (RCN file)