KERNERSVILLE, N.C. (WGHP) — Someone has pleaded guilty to the shooting death of a 14-year-old boy in Kernersville.
On Friday, Tristan Jones appeared in court and pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the death of Marcus Key, who was shot and killed in November 2021 at Fourth of July park in Kernersville.
On Nov. 17, 2021, the District Attorney’s office said an “ongoing conflict culminated in the shooting of a young man.”
Two groups, mostly teenagers, had been getting into arguments in person and over social media for around a month before the November shooting. Both groups were in the park on the 17th, including Marcus and his family. A family member of Marcus’s was involved in the fight, but there’s no indication Marcus was.
The disagreement escalated into threats of violence before Tristan Jones was picked up by one of his friends. They drove to Winston-Salem and then back to Fourth of July Park.
According to the other group of teens, the group Jones was with tried to hit one of them with a car earlier in the day, and also alleged they’d seen a gun in the car, but the driver said it was just an air rifle.
When Jones returned to the park with other friends, his friends claimed he did not know that Jones had a gun until Jones got back to the Fourth of July park. The driver said Jones showed him the gun when he got out of the car and said he never talked about bringing a gun to the park before that. No witnesses saw him with the gun inside the park.
The two groups of teenagers began arguing again and Jones’s group got in the car to leave, and Jones leaned out of the passenger side window and fired a shot into the crowd in the tree line of the park, the District Attorney says.
The shot hit Marcus Key in the face.
The investigation showed that the shot traveled several hundred feet and several witnesses say they saw someone shooting over the top of a car, but only the driver identified Jones.
Jones received a maximum sentence of 77 months. He had no prior record.