A Kent County jury on Tuesday convicted a Grand Rapids man for the Nov. 6, 2015, slaying of his girlfriend, who was gunned down in front of a city street crew on Grand Rapids’ Northeast Side.
Jermaine Arnet Cooper was found guilty of second-degree murder and felony use of a firearm in a trial that got underway last week. Jurors returned a verdict about noon today.
Cooper, 36, faces up to life in prison for the predawn slaying of 31-year-old Melissa Moore. He’ll be sentenced Nov. 28 in front of Kent County Circuit Court Judge George Jay Quist. Cooper remains held in the Kent County Jail.
Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Kellee Koncki told jurors that Cooper “basically assassinated’’ the victim following a protracted argument that began the previous evening.
He shot Moore, a mother of two, on Knapp Street near Truxton Drive NE; a city street crew cleaning up leaves witnessed the shooting.
“He essentially assassinated her in front of them and then left in a black Cadillac,’’ Koncki told the jury.
Witnesses described seeing the gunman leave in a black Cadillac, which matches the description of a vehicle used by Cooper and Moore. The car was found near a home where Cooper had been staying in Northeast Grand Rapids.
After killing Moore, Koncki said Cooper fled to Detroit to avoid the consequences. He was arrested by police there on Dec. 4 following a seven-hour standoff.
“His flight, and the stand-off and all those things will show his consciousness of guilt,’’ Koncki told jurors during opening statements last week.
The pair were involved in a heated argument about a cellphone, she told jurors.
“He’s jealous. He’s saying you’re calling somebody else on this cell phone, you’re blocking me on your cell phone. Don’t you love me anymore? It goes on all night.’’
Defense attorney Jonathan Schildgen told jurors the prosecution’s case was built on “theory and speculation.’’
“There was some fighting, but Jermaine never laid a hand on her – not that night or any night,’’ he told jurors. “Jermaine did not shoot Melissa. There was an immediate rush to judgment on the government’s part to try to show Jermaine did this.’’