The way Kay and Monica LeFlore see it, their family is halfway to justice.
A jury deliberated for just three hours Friday before finding an Omaha man guilty of first-degree murder and weapon use in the January 2018 shooting death of the LeFlores’ son, U.S. Army Sgt. Kyle LeFlore.
Jason Devers, 36, was not the gunman who killed LeFlore, 27, outside the Reign Lounge on North 30th Street, just south of Interstate 680. But jurors convicted him under a state law that holds accomplices accountable if someone is killed during the commission of a felony.
Last year, prosecutors dropped charges against the alleged gunman, Larry Goynes, after a key witness wavered.
They have the right to refile charges at any time.
Kay LeFlore said he hopes that time is soon.
The woman who wavered before Goynes’ trial last year testified in Devers’ case.
“Hopefully, she’ll come in, and she’ll testify again — and we’ll get justice for Kyle,” LeFlore said. “That will be the most important trial for our family.”
Prosecutor Mike Jensen, a deputy Douglas County attorney, declined to comment on whether authorities will seek to re-charge Goynes, 27.
Prosecutor Nissa Jones, along with Jensen, presented several key pieces of evidence against Devers over the past two weeks, including: a gold chain that had LeFlore’s DNA on it, found in Devers’ belongings; surveillance video that showed Devers and Goynes at the Reign Lounge in the hours before the shooting; and a girlfriend’s testimony that she and Devers waited in Devers’ truck to return after the robbery.
Add to that, a jailhouse informant claimed that Devers told him that he was miffed that LeFlore had started talking to two women Devers was talking with at the bar.
Devers saw LeFlore pull out a wad of cash and saw the jewelry around his neck and thought that LeFlore would be a good “lick,” or robbery target.
The informant, Marvin Stockdale, who also testified in another murder case this month, alleged that Devers claimed to have told Goynes to shoot LeFlore if he “acted tough.”
“I just didn’t think my little dumba** cousin would kill him,” Devers confided, according to Stockdale.
The jury’s verdict means that Devers will be sentenced to life in prison. Judge Timothy Burns set sentencing for June.
LeFlore’s extended family left the courthouse Friday in tears and smiles. He left behind a wife and son and a host of siblings and cousins who packed the fifth-floor courtroom for the trial.
Kay LeFlore, who owns a fine clothing store, wiped away tears as he talked about the son “who was most like myself.” He was thoughtful, considerate and raised in a church but “always wanted to act like he wasn’t.”
“He was a good actor, good kid,” LeFlore said. “The glue to our family.”
He said Kyle earned “all the medals, all the citations” he could in his seven-year Army career. He served in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Kay LeFlore lamented the irony that during a break from his Army service, his son was gunned down on the streets of his hometown.
“That was my fault,” LeFlore said. “I put that all on me. I taught him, ‘Once you’re home, you can relax.’ I never taught him to be careful at home.”
LeFlore said he wants northeast Omaha to stand up and stamp out “the gangs, the wannabe thugs, the wannabe criminals who think they can carve out a part of the city and call it their own.”
“Let’s report these criminals,” LeFlore said. “It’s not like you’re telling on your sisters or brothers. These are murderers. Let’s get the murderers off the streets. Let’s get the community back.”