Jury deadlock in trial of Portsmouth teen charged in 2022 murder – The Virginian-Pilot

PORTSMOUTH — The trial of a Portsmouth teenager accused of participating in the 2022 murder and robbery of another teenager ended Thursday after a jury failed to reach a verdict on the murder charges he faced.

The Portsmouth Circuit Court jury acquitted Tristan “Mook” Johnson Jr. of three counts of robbery and weapons charges, but said it could not agree on the two counts. murder charge after nearly three hours of deliberations.

Johnson, who was 16 when 17-year-old Jesse Hogg was fatally shot days before Christmas, was initially charged with aggravated murder, which carries a mandatory life prison sentence, but prosecutors reduced the count main charge of first degree murder after closing their case. The jury then had the choice of first or second degree murder.

Hogg's family left the courtroom quietly Thursday. They declined to comment. No new trial date has been set for Johnson on the murder charges.

The shooting occurred on the afternoon of December 21, 2022, outside a home on Sykes Avenue. An autopsy later showed that the Manor High School senior had been shot 10 times.

A man who witnessed the shooting and another who saw the suspects flee provided descriptions to police. Detectives also obtained CCTV footage showing four people fleeing after the gunshots.

Two of the suspects – Pharondus “Rondo” Clemon II, then 17, and his girlfriend Analwah “Minnie” Jones, then 18 – were located shortly afterward. Johnson and a 13-year-old boy were later arrested.

Court records show Clemon, Jones and Johnson all gave statements to police, but did not indicate whether the 13-year-old spoke to them.

Clemon told detectives they had planned to meet Hogg that day to buy marijuana. As they drove to the meeting place in a stolen Kia Forte sedan, there was a discussion about stealing Hogg's gun, records show.

Johnson told investigators that after they arrived, Clemon whispered to him to “take, take,” in reference to the gun Hogg was carrying on his hip. Johnson said that when he reached for the gun, Hogg grabbed it and Johnson fell to the ground. Clemon and one of the other suspects then shot Hogg several times, according to the documents, before leaning over and taking Hogg's gun.

The group tried to flee in the Kia, but were unable to start it and fled on foot. As they fled, the man who witnessed the murder approached them and told them he was calling the police.

Jones told police that Clemon stuffed Hogg's pistol and the two other handguns in Johnson's backpack and hid them in the yard of a Griffin Street home, where police later recovered the weapons.

Clemon and Jones are expected to go to trial later this year. The 13-year-old, too young to be tried as an adult under Virginia law, has already pleaded guilty in juvenile court.

Jane Harper, [email protected]

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