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Jury convicts man in fatal necklace rob

In addition to the killing, Alex Devaughn, 34, of 2140 Seward Ave. in the Bronx, was convicted of robbery at the end of a four-week trial in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens. He was scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 9 and faces up to 25 years to life in prison, but his lawyer, James Koenig, said his client plans to appeal.

"We felt the evidence against him came from people who were unworthy of belief," Koenig said, referring to testimony from criminals who claimed to have committed robberies with Devaughn.

The jury, however, believed Devaughn was responsible for the shooting death of Roy Douglas, 35, outside the Spring Deli at 218-59 Hempstead Ave. in Queens Village.

Devaughn's two accomplices in the crime, Wydell Simpkins, 32, of 365 Powell St. in Brooklyn pleaded guilty to robbery charges in July 2003 and Patrick Brunache, 32, address unknown, pleaded guilty to weapons possession in August 2000. Simpkins was sentenced to 22 years in prison in September and Brunache was sentenced to two to four years in prison in January 2002.

On Jan. 9, 2000 the three men drove to the deli, at which point Devaughn and Simpkins got out to commit two robberies while Brunache acted as the getaway driver, according to a statement from police in the criminal complaint.

Both men brandished handguns, while. Simpkins' took a necklace from Douglas and then shot him, the complaint said. At the same time, Devaughn robbed a second man, Wayne Wright, at gunpoint of another necklace, police said. Wright was not hurt, and although Devaughn did not actively participate in the killing of Douglas, the Bronx man was found responsible in the murder because of his presence.

"The defendant has been found guilty of a violent crime that took the life of an innocent victim," Brown said. "The crime warrants the imposition of the maximum penalty - 25 years to life in prison."

Devaughn served 10 years in prison on a manslaughter conviction in 1989. He maintains his innocence in the present case, his lawyer said.

Douglas, the murder victim, was shot because he refused to part with a chain given to him on his 16th birthday by his parents, who owned a jewelry store on Jamaica Avenue, news reports said. His family could not be reached for comment.

Reach reporter Michael Morton by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by calling 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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