Capital murder charge reduced to manslaughter for Meridian teen

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - New charges and new details were introduced in court today about last week's deadly home invasion in Meridian.

The capital murder charge against 16-year-old Dezjuan Moffite was amended. Three new charges were outlined in court. The teenager is now charged with armed robbery, attempted murder and manslaughter.

Municipal Court Judge Robbie Jones says Moffite’s capital murder charge was amended because his actions were not directly involved in the death of his accomplice, Randarious Martin. Investigators still say however, he is responsible for his death because of his part in the armed robbery. Family and friends of Moffite filled the seats inside the courtroom as the charges were announced.

“When you look at the totality of the circumstances, it’s complicated and obviously unnecessary that this set of events happened, but the facts seem to better suit those charges rather than capital murder,” said Judge Jones.

The attempted murder charge stems from Moffite's attempt to shoot 18-year-old Antonio Stillman inside St. Frances Apartments. Moffite allegedly knocked on the door on the apartment and a woman inside the home looked through the peephole and noticed the suspect.

Before she could open the door, the two suspects forced themselves inside and demanded money and marijuana. Moffite’s face was uncovered, while Martin was wearing a mask.

“If you could’ve seen the picture, he looked like a ninja almost,” said Judge Jones.

Detective Joseph Peters revealed that Moffite and Stillman were friends and was inside the same apartment hours before the crime.

“Unfortunately for him, and fortunately for the victims, the gun did not fire,” said Judge Jones.

Investigators say a physical altercation broke out inside the apartment. Moffite attempted to shoot Stillman, but the gun jammed. At that point, Stillman made a play for the gun, closed his eyes and shot Martin in the chest.

“You try to weigh what you would do with an adult that had a criminal history and a minor that shouldn’t have been where he was and doing what he was doing on that particular occasion,” said Judge Jones.

Moffite has no prior run-ins with the law. We asked family and friends of Moffite that attended his preliminary hearing for a comment. They declined our request.

Judge Jones set bond for the armed robbery charge at $300,000, $250,000 for the armed robbery charge and $200,000 for the manslaughter charge.