LARGO — Though he never pointed a gun at anyone and never pulled a trigger, Abdusbasiyr Blake faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced on a second-degree murder charge.
After about four hours of deliberation Wednesday night, a jury found Blake, 20, guilty of the murder charge and kidnapping stemming from a September 2008 incident in which one of his friends died.
"It's just all very sad that several young lives are wasted and there are no winners," said Cynthia Bryant, Blake's court-appointed attorney.
According to authorities, Blake, Javon Strange and Juan Carlos Morales forced Gregory Longley into a car at gunpoint in Oldsmar because they believed he could lead them to another man they were looking for in a dispute over missing coins.
Longley, now 22, testified this week that the three teenagers threatened to kill him, making him fear for his life.
Strange had a loaded gun. When Strange put the gun down in his lap to send a text message, Longley grabbed the weapon and shot him in the head. Strange, 18, died at the scene.
The State Attorney's Office charged Blake and Morales with second-degree murder under a Florida law that says a person who commits a felony crime bears responsibility if another person dies during the commission of the crime.
In a separate trial in July, Morales, now 19, was convicted of kidnapping, but acquitted of murder. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
After testifying against Blake Wednesday, Longley said he disagreed with the murder charge.
"He didn't kill anyone," he said.
But, Longley said, he believed that both young men should be held accountable for the kidnapping.
Blake's sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 3.
Rita Farlow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4157.