Victim died from shotgun blast to head
Atlanta–Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr., announces the MURDER conviction, by a Fulton County Superior Court Jury, of DEVIN KINGDOM, 24, in the shooting death of 25-year-old CIERRA FORD.
During the spring of 2014, several New York gang members relocated to Atlanta. The group included Tyrique Lobban, Joseph Clarke, Devin Kingdom, Malik Ortiz, Gregory Battle, and Jabar Brady. When they moved to Atlanta, Clarke, Ortiz, Battle, and Brady lived with Lobban in his Sandy Springs apartment. Eventually, internal problems developed within the gang resulting in a leadership struggle between the group. The strife centered around who should lead and control the gang. The dispute between Lobban and the other four men came to a head in October of 2016 when Lobban asked Clarke, Ortiz, and Battle to move out of the apartment. Once they moved out of the apartment, the men made a decision to kill Lobban and remove him from his leadership position in the gang.
On November 25, 2016, more than a month after they were asked to leave the apartment, Clarke, Ortiz, Kingdom, and Battle decided to execute the plan to kill Lobban. They entered his apartment through an unlocked door with weapons drawn and ready to fire. In a downstairs bedroom, they encountered Lobban’s 19-year-old New York roommate, Brady, and ordered him to leave the apartment or else he would be murdered as well. Kingdom and Clarke kicked in the door of Lobban’s upstairs bedroom and encountered Lobban and his girlfriend Cierra Ford who were lying in Lobban’s bed. The men entered the room and shot Ms. Ford in the head with a shotgun blast. Lobban was shot three times by the group but managed to survive his assault.
Kingdom and Ortiz were tried before a Fulton County Superior Court Jury last week. Although Kingdom was convicted of murder, the jury acquitted Ortiz on two counts and was unable to reach verdicts on the other 12 counts. Ortiz will be retried at a later time. In addition to the tragic death of Cierra Ford, shortly before the trial a key witness for the state in this case, Lobban’s roommate Jabar Brady, committed suicide in New York. District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr. said about Brady’s death,
“The gravity of these violent deaths never seems to end.”
U.S. Marshalls arrested Clarke, Kingdom, and Ortiz on December 6, 2016, at a home in Brevard County, Florida, but Battle remains on the run. Clarke will face a trial in Fulton County Superior Court at a later date.
Ms. Ford graduated from Berkeley High School in California in 2009 before earning her associate’s degree from Contra Costa Community College. Ms. Ford’s brother, Clarence, said she excelled academically, and he believes his sister was an inspiration to other young women. Ms. Ford wanted to be a journalist or a radio host, and she had plans to intern for an Atlanta radio station.
“Cierra was intelligent, charismatic, and she had a vibrant sense of humor that resonated with her friends and family.”
–Clarence Ford, Cierra’s Brother
A Fulton County Superior Court Jury found KINGDOM guilty of FELONY MURDER, MURDER, HOME INVASION IN THE FIRST DEGREE, AGGRAVATED ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON, AGGRAVATED BATTERY, BURGLARY IN THE FIRST DEGREE, AND POSSESSION OF A FIREARM DURING THE COMMISSION OF A FELONY. KINGDOM was sentenced to LIFE IN PRISON PLUS 10 YEARS.
Judge Kimberly M. Esmond Adams, of the Superior Court of Fulton County, presided over the case. Senior Assistant District Attorney Adam Abbate prosecuted the case. He was assisted by Chief Senior Assistant District Attorney Seleta Griffin and Investigator Rasheed Hamilton of the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. Detective JT Williams of the Sandy Springs Police Department was the Lead Investigator in the case.