Houston & Peach

Convicted killer seeks new trial in gang-related shooting at gas station

Deondray Darnell Yarn
Deondray Darnell Yarn

Convicted killer Deondray Darnell Yarn is seeking a new trial in the gang-related shooting of another man at a Warner Robins gas station.

A hearing is set for 3 p.m. Monday in Houston County Superior Court.

Yarn’s previous court-appointed attorney, Russell Walker of Perry, filed a motion for a new trial. Walker ended his contract with the county to serve as a defense attorney when the public defender’s office has a conflict of interest.

Yarn’s new court-appointed attorney, Ron E. Daniels, said that Walker’s motion generally outlined the statutory grounds to seek a new trial. One of those grounds is that the prosecution failed to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

“Those are the grounds that Georgia law provides that a trial court can consider without going into anything else,” Daniels said. “You file that under Georgia law essentially to stop the clock running.”

Motions for a new trial must be made within 30 days of the verdict “except in extraordinary cases,” according to state law.

Daniel said he expects to amend the motion, but declined to give specifics.

Yarn, of Atlanta, was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole for the killing in May. He also received 45 years for other related charges.

Monnie Joseph Brabham IV, 32, was shot and killed minutes before noon Jan. 23, 2014, at the fuel pumps of Murphy USA near the Wal-Mart off Russell Parkway in Warner Robins.

Yarn, a member of One Eight Trey, a set of the Bloods gang, was the last co-defendant to be sentenced in the killing that was allegedly orchestrated by a high-ranking gang member while in prison.

According to testimony at Yarn’s trial, Brabham was driving around his good friend, LaJerrius Barfield, to earn some extra money. Barfield was the intended target of a planned kidnapping, torture and killing allegedly ordered by Kelvin Melton, according to District Attorney Greg Winters.

Melton allegedly dispatched gang members down from Atlanta to the Warner Robins home of a fellow gang member. The plan was to lure Barfield to the home, but Barfield and Brabham had driven by the house but not gone in.

Instead, they went went to the drive-thru at Zaxby’s and then to get gas at the adjacent Murphy’s USA on Booth Road. The gang followed in a Chevy Tahoe.

While Brabham was pumping gas, Michael Gooden and Yarn jumped out of the backseat of the Tahoe and came up behind Brabham.

Brabham was shot in a brief struggle with Gooden. Yarn fired at Barfield as he ran away. Barfield tripped and fell as he ran, with gang members thinking he’d been killed also.

Becky Purser: 478-256-9559, @BecPurser