Reynolds found not guilty in Triangle Mart murder

Published: Sep. 25, 2019 at 6:36 PM EDT
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After approximately an hour and a half of deliberation, a jury found Darreonta Reynolds not guilty on three charges: murder, use of a firearm in commission of a felony and use of a firearm from a vehicle.

The jury's decision came after hearing testimonies from both the defendant and Renikqua Bonds, Reynolds girlfriend. Bonds was seen in surveillance footage with the victim moments before shots were fired.

In closing arguments, tensions between opposing sides rose. Prosecutors claimed the self defense claim was not valid because Reynolds did not shoot from necessity. Reynolds' attorney argued the commonwealth did not supply sufficient evidence for the jury to find Reynolds guilty of murder.

Nkurunziza's family was visibly upset in the courtroom while Reynolds' family and friends celebrated. Cathy Reynolds hugged Reynolds as soon as Judge Broadhurst read the verdict.


In the early hours of February 24, Jean De Dieu Nkurunziza was pronounced dead after being shot. It happened at the Triangle Mart on Cove Road in northwest Roanoke.

Darreonta Lamar Reynolds is charged with Nkurunziza's murder and faces an additional five charges related to what took place on the 24th. He pleaded not guilty in front of Judge Bill Broadhurst Wednesday morning before the prosecution and defense began breaking down what led to shots being fired.

Both prosecution and defense are relying on surveillance footage shot inside and outside the Triangle Mart, body cam footage from police officers who responded, and even footage shot from a business across from the Triangle Mart.

Paul Beers is representing Reynolds, along with his stepmom, Cathy Reynolds.

In opening statements, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Jack Patterson said officers found the victim lying by the gas pumps in front of the Triangle Mart and that he was unresponsive. The first two officers on scene, who were also the first to testify, heard the shots from another call they were at a few blocks away.

In surveillance footage shown to the court, a Lexus is seen being pulled up in front of the store around 12:30 a.m. and a woman in a white shirt and jeans gets out and walks into the Triangle Mart. She purchases an item when the victim, a black man in a red jacket and an employee of the Triangle Mart, walks in and hugs her.

The video then shows the woman and the victim walking out of the store together and according to prosecutors, they get into the Lexus, which belongs to the woman. Prosecutors also establish this woman was Reynolds's girlfriend.

More video shows Reynolds arriving in a separate car and approaching the Lexus a few minutes later. According to prosecutors, he's carrying a gun.

Reynolds and the victim then get into an argument, according to Patterson. The victim gets out of the car, and goes back into the store to get a gun that's kept inside, which is captured on the footage.

After the victim is no longer in the store, the shots are fired. The footage does not show the actual shooting, but the window of the passenger side of the Lexus is shot through. According to a paramedic, the victim died from a single shot to the chest.

The Lexus is seen on the footage driving away and the victim stumbling to the ground. The woman and Reynolds were not at the scene when police arrived.

Several more witnesses are set to take the stand Thursday before the jury deliberates.

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