Man who killed Glades Central football player found murdered

A man convicted of robbing and shooting a Belle Glade football player in August 2000 was found murdered in Mangonia Park early Friday, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

Gilbert Stokes, 39, was found shot to death inside a car in an industrial park in the 4700 block of Australian Avenue, just north of 45th Street. Deputies responded to the scene about 1:30 a.m.

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Stokes, of Belle Glade, was sentenced to life in November 2002 for killing Jyron Seider, 18, as he played dice with friends. Seider was the son of longtime Belle Glade High athletic director Jay Seider.

An appellate court overturned Stokes’ first-degree murder conviction and ordered a new trial after ruling the jury should not have been told he belonged to a gang.

Stokes went on trial a second time, but prosecutors dropped the murder charge after a key witness balked at testifying. A plea agreement was reached October 2006 in which Stokes pleaded guilty to manslaughter and aggravated assault with a firearm and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

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Stokes was released from custody in September 2012 after serving a little over nine years for Seider’s death.

“It’s a shame when anybody loses their life,” Jay Seider said Friday after learning of Stokes’ death. “It’s really sad to hear. But the good lord has a way of handling these types of situations.”

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Records show that Stokes didn’t stay out of trouble after he was released from prison in 2012. He was arrested in March 2015 for allegedly stealing a dump truck and its trailer, then pleaded guilty last April to dealing in stolen property. He was sentenced to three years of probation that was scheduled to end in April 2019.

Jyron Seider was a 6-foot, 220-pound linebacker who wore No. 54 for the Glades Central football team and was known as “Big Country.” One day before school started in August 2000, Seider was watching a dice game on a Belle Glade street corner when he was murdered.

Jyron was one of Jay and Cathy Seider’s three sons. Their eldest son, JuJuan, was an outstanding quarterback at Glades Central who later played at the University of West Virginia and was drafted in 2000 by the NFL’s San Diego Chargers. JuJuan Seider was recently hired as running backs coach at the University of Florida.

Stokes was scheduled to spend the rest of his life in prison before the appellate court ruling that resulted in a second trial. The prosecution’s case became shaky after a key witness refused to testify against Stokes, leading to the plea agreement.

Prosecutors apologized to Seider’s parents in court, and Circuit Judge Sandra McSorley called the outcome a “huge injustice.”

Jay Seider, Glades Central’s athletic director from 1988 to 2002 when the football team won three state championships and sent a bevy of players to the NFL, said the entire situation is a “shame.”

“His way of life brought this on himself,” Seider said. “Live by the sword, you could die by it.”

PBSO asks that anyone with information connected to Stokes’ murder contact Crime Stoppers of Palm Beach County at 1-800-458-TIPS (8477).

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