SAN ANTONIO -- He would have been a senior at Judson High School, but instead, 17-year-old Joshua Joyner will spend the next 40 years in jail.
On Monday night, a jury found Joyner guilty of capital murder.
Joyner declined interviews with the media, but his attorney is speaking out as well as the best friend of Albert Nelson, the 19-year-old Joyner shot after a planned robbery.
“They were scheming. They were all involved. Surprisingly, only my client was charged,” said Mario Trevino, Joyner’s defense attorney.
Prosecutors said that Joyner, along with three friends, planned to rob Nelson of $75-worth of marijuana and that the two had a beef with each other.
“I could have gone after the police department a little bit more, but they weren’t real witnesses to the offense,” Trevino said.
The group met outside of Elolf Elementary School in Converse. An argument ensued, resulting in gunfire. Nelson was shot inside his car. Joyner was also hit.
Prosecutors say that Joyner stashed the gun in a nearby ditch, later found with traces of blood and used for evidence. The defense pushed for a lesser charge and banked on the jury finding that Joyner’s accomplices told different stories to police and to the courtroom, creating reasonable doubt.
“It was really a challenge as to sufficiency of the evidence,” Trevino said. “I did voir dire the jury on that, but maybe I should have done it a little bit more.”
Trevino added that, besides the boys who were at the scene the night of the crime, he had no witnesses to call.
“I didn’t want Joshua to go free,” said Michaela Terrell, Nelson’s best friend. “[Albert] prayed over a bag of chips. That’s what kind of person he was. Just saying that anything you put in your body is a blessing from God. Albert and his brother made music. Albert had so many goals and ambitions.”
Nelson’s involvement with drugs was news to her. She says that Nelson planned to enroll in college classes to study music.
Michaels hopes that Joyner will use the next 40 years in jail to reflect on his actions.
“I would want him to know that he took a huge light from a lot of our lives. And after that 40 years, I don’t think any of us would want to see him go free,” she said.
Joyner will be eligible for parole after 40 years. No word yet on if Joyner will appeal Monday’s ruling.