A jury Thursday afternoon found Joshua “Killa” Simpson guilty in a 2016 homicide and attempted homicide near Greenacres.
Simpson was convicted of first-degree murder in the May 19, 2016, fatal shooting of 32-year-old Joanes Charlot Jr. and the attempted second-degree murder of Larry Andre King III.
Investigators said Simpson shot the men over a gun that allegedly was missing at a residence just south of Greenacres. Simpson was also found guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Cheryl Caracuzzo set Simpson’s sentencing for Aug. 22.
During closing arguments Thursday, Assistant State Attorney Aleathea McRoberts told the jury Simpson, known as “Killa,” confronted Charlot and King about a missing gun when they tried to leave the residence on Wauconda Way East. Then, she said, he shot King in the hip and Charlot twice with one gun until it wouldn’t fire anymore.
A witness told investigators that Simpson picked up another gun and shot Charlot three more times while he was on the ground. Simpson fled in one of the witnesses’ cars and later texted its owner to apologize for taking it.
“You know from all the evidence this was premeditated,” McRoberts said. “The only evidence before you is this was a deliberate killing.”
Defense attorney Barry Feingold told the jury that the state’s argument relied entirely on witness statements and that there was no other evidence that pinned the fatal shooting on his client.
“Where’s the big DNA reveal? The fingerprint reveal? The video? There’s nothing there,” he said. “There’s nothing that points to Joshua Simpson.”
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Feingold asked the jury who was it that cleaned the scene of the shooting, putting shell casings in a garbage can. And who lied to investigators about how and where the shooting happened — a reference to King initially telling law enforcement he and Charlot were shot in a drive-by shooting — and other conflicting recounts of the shooting. In the home itself, he said, there were drugs, guns and convicted felons, including one man who was on probation.
“The state’s case rests on the credibility of these non-credible witnesses,” Feingold said.
Assistant State Attorney Reid Scott told the jury even though Feingold would want them to believe that witnesses’ statements should not hold weight because of their actions before and after the shooting, whatever they may have done doesn’t change their testimony.
“In gang cases, you have gangsters testifying. In mob cases, you have the mob,” he said. “John Gotti wasn’t brought down by a group of nuns.”
Instead, Scott said, it was Simpson who fled the scene after the shooting. And, when questioned by investigators about the shooting, it was Simpson who asked who the witnesses were.
“When he’s confronted, he immediately puts his head down,” he said. “His body is telling you when he puts his head down: ‘God, I’m screwed.’ ”