AURORA, Colo. — A jury has convicted a man of fatally shooting the parents of five children who responded to a fake advertisement, set up by the suspect, while trying to purchase a car.
According to the 18th Judicial District, investigations found that Kyree Brown, 20, used a fake name to advertise a stolen vehicle for sale, using the online marketplace app, Letgo.
Authorities said the victim, Joe Roland, was looking to buy a vehicle for his teenage daughter, according to the Associated Press. He found a Toyota RAV4 on Letgo, which was advertised by James Worthy, who was really 18-year-old Brown at the time, reports the AP.
On Aug. 14, Roland replied to the listing and agreed to meet to purchase the car with his wife, Jossaline Roland. Brown drove the stolen vehicle to Southlands Mall, in Aurora, to meet with the Rolands, according to investigators.
When Roland noticed issues with the vehicle’s title, Brown told the couple he had accidentally brought the wrong vehicle title and asked them to meet him elsewhere, reports the AP. Brown then pulled out a gun and demanded the couple hand over the cash they brought to purchase the car. Brown proceeded to shoot five times, killing the couple.
Joe and Jossline leave behind five children, all under the age of 19.
“This cowardly act of violence leaves five children without their parents,” District Attorney John Kellner said. “I think about the back-to-school nights without their parents. The bedtime stories never read. Words just can’t describe what this killer took away. He deserves to spend the rest of his life behind bars.”
Investigations revealed that Brown left the scene with approximately $3,000 and dumped the stolen car near Havana Street and East Colfax Avenue. He then set the car on fire. Investigators traced the car back to Brown by pulling computer records showing Brown’s email address that was used to list the stolen vehicle online.
“This defendant assumed a fake identity to lure this innocent couple into his snare, pretending to be someone he wasn’t and to sell a car he didn’t own,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Garrik Storgaard said. “He callously ended two innocent lives for a few thousand dollars and his selfish actions created an unjustifiable risk to the community and displayed no regard for the value of human life.”
A jury convicted Brown of the following counts:
- Two counts of Second-Degree Murder
- Two counts of First-Degree Murder-Felony Murder
- Two counts of Aggravated Robbery
- Second Degree Arson
- Three counts of Aggravated Motor Vehicle Theft
- Felony Theft
- Bait Advertising
According to the AP, in a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the victims’ family, claims “Letgo, which has been acquired by OfferUp, was negligent because it allowed the alleged shooter to become a “verified seller” using a fake name and despite his criminal history.”
A pending motion to dismiss the lawsuit has been filed by LetGo and OfferUp. The company argues that it “encourages users to exercise caution and use third-party meetup spots such as police stations.” They also contend that users acknowledge risks when buying and selling on an internet-based marketplace reports the Associated Press.
Brown will be sentenced on Nov. 21.