A Kenton County jury has ruled that 17-year-old Brandon Hambrick is guilty of murdering his cousin, Ke'Ovion "Keeter" Seay in 2019.
Another teen, DeAngelo Jones-Smith, was also charged in the murder but pled guilty to first degree manshaughter. Both Jones-Smith and Hambrick were 16 at the time, but were tried as adults.
According to a press release from Kenton County prosecutor Rob Sanders, Covington police officers were called to the Eastside Pointe apartments, where they found Seay suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to his torso and head. He died before he arrived at the hospital, the release said.
The investigation revealed Seay and his girlfriend had attended the Old Timers Festival in Eastside before he was shot to death. Police learned that a Snapchat feud between Hambrick and Seay's younger brother led Hambrick and Jones-Smith to drive from Newport to Covington, armed with handguns. While they were looking for Seay's brother, officials said they saw Seay walking down the street with his girlfriend and chose to attack him instead.
Jones-Smith is expected to receive a 15-year sentence for his plea and agreement to testify against Hambrick, who officials said fired the fatal shots, according to the release from Sanders' office. The jury sentenced Hambrick to 45 years in prison. Jurors deliberated for just over an hour.
During the trial, prosecutors said Jones-Smith turned his gun into police just days after the shooting. From there, ballistics tests showed Jones-Smith's gun matched shell casings found on the opposite end of the apartment complex parking lot from where Seay was shot. Prosecutors said shell casings recovered feet from Seay's body did not match Jones-Smith's gun; investigators never found the gun Hambrick had that day.
Witnesses testified that Hambrick and Jones-Smith were the only ones shooting that day. Prosecutors also presented incriminating statements Hambrick made to witnesses after the shooting and on recorded jail calls after his arrest.
Both were indicted for the murder in November 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent court shutdowns delayed the trial.
Seay was a recent Holmes High School graduate when the shooting occurred in August 2019 and worked as a lifeguard at Randolph Pool.
"We're heartbroken," said Covington Parks & Recreation manager Rosie Santos in August 2019, after the shooting. "Keeter has been with us two summers now, and he was one of those who helped keep our pools safe for the younger kids. We really hope that his family and the community can find peace through this devastating time."