Juvenile Direct File: Guilty of Murder

Taroz’Jay Cherry, 19, faces up to life in prison after being found guilty as charged of Second Degree Murder with Possession of a Firearm, Attempted Robbery with Possession of a Firearm and Robbery with Possession of a Firearm following a 3 day trial in Lee County. The jury deliberated for more than 7 hours before returning their guilty verdict late last night. 

This case was a juvenile direct file by the State Attorney’s Office meaning the defendant was a juvenile at the time of the offense but was charged as an adult. Cherry was 17 years old at the time of the crime. 

In May 2016, Cherry arranged through a friend to buy marijuana in Lehigh Acres. Four people went to meet Cherry on a secluded street that the defendant requested. When they pulled up in their car, he was standing in the road. Cherry leaned into the passenger side of the car to talk the group but then grabbed the marijuana from the seller’s hands, pulled out a gun, and demanded everything the occupants had. 

Meanwhile, a second person approached the driver side of the car with a gun demanding the same. The second person was never identified. A commotion occurred and Cherry ended up behind the car where the victim, a 17 year old, was shot in the chest. Cherry and the unidentified second person fled the scene on foot. 

The man trying to sell the drugs called 911 while trying to stop the bleeding from the victim’s wound until help arrived. The victim died at the hospital. 

Assistant State Attorney Andreas Gardiner of our Homicide Unit and Assistant State Attorney Kelly Worcester prosecuted the case. Sentencing is scheduled for June 11th

Samantha Syoen
Communications Director
State Attorney’s Office