A Wichita man was convicted Monday of two counts of first-degree murder and all other charges brought against him for his role in the city’s first two homicides of 2013.
Jerone Hakien Brown, 20, was convicted in the January 2013 shooting deaths of Shawn Rhone and Adji Tampone.
He will be sentenced Feb. 14 by District Judge Ben Burgess on the murder conviction as well as one count each of aggravated robbery, attempted aggravated robbery and criminal discharge of a firearm.
Brown’s brother Shawn Malek Brown, 21, is scheduled to stand trial on the same charges next week.
Prosecutors said Tampone, 29, was killed in his home in the 700 block of South Rutan because of a drug debt he owed to Shawn Brown. They said Rhone, 42, was shot after being lured to a vacant house in the 1700 block of Northeast Parkway to sell marijuana.
Prosecutors said the brothers drove to the scene of Rhone’s killing in a 2003 Cadillac DeVille that was taken from Tampone’s house after he was killed. A third brother, Milo Brown, and a cousin were also charged in the Rhone homicide.
Jurors began their deliberations Friday but adjourned for the weekend after asking for the read-back of testimony from two witnesses – a police detective and a jailhouse informant. That testimony was read back on Monday, and jurors reached a verdict about 1 p.m.
The informant, Russell Worthey of Dodge City, told the jury that he was being held in the jail in January 2013 when he overheard Jerone Brown bragging about his role in the murders.
“He said there was a drug deal,” Worthey said, referring to the Rhone homicide. “They ended up trying to rob the guy and shot him.”
“ They did or we did?” prosecutor Trinity Muth asked.
“ We did,” Worthey said. “He said we set up a drug deal.”
Worthey also said he heard Jerone Brown describing how his brother shot Tampone because of the unpaid drug debt.
Worthey was one of 23 alleged gang members who were were indicted in 2012 on federal charges of operating a criminal enterprise in Dodge City.