Two days after a man pleaded guilty to killing Riverside restaurant employee Daniel Rowe behind the Blind Rabbit restaurant in July 2015, a second man was arrested and charged with murder.
Devonte Hanford, 22, who has a long criminal history and is on probation for a 2016 conviction on a weapons charge, was booked into the Duval County jail Saturday afternoon and made his first appearance before a judge Sunday morning.
As Erron Coleman, 25, admitted to pulling the trigger while robbing Rowe in open court Thursday, he named Hanford as the second man police always believed was involved in the robbery that led to Rowe's death.
In addition to murder, Hanford is charged with possession of marijuana, cocaine, controlled substances and drug paraphernalia and knowingly driving without a license.
Records show Hanford has seven previous arrests in Duval County, including charges of domestic battery, battery in a detention facility, resisting an officer, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, tampering with a witness and other drug charges.
No bail for Hanford
A number of people showed up to see Hanford in court, including Rowe’s parents, who said it’s the first step toward justice. There were others though, who said police have the wrong man.
News4Jax spoke with Rowe’s parents, Steven and Raelyn Rowe and Hanford’s girlfriend, Katoria McMillian.
The experience was emotional for Rowe’s parents who weren’t sure the second person suspected of being involved in his death would ever be caught.
Raelyn Rowe said, “It’s a good day. We have the other guy off the streets. (It’s a) start of another journey through the court system, but we’ll be there every step of the way. So grateful to everybody who’s worked tirelessly to make this happen for us.”
Steven Rowe said, “I know in my heart that in the end, he’s going to be where he needs to be and we’ll have justice for our son. We will be there all the time. He (Hanford) will see us just like Coleman did and he will know who we are.”
Not Everyone Believes Hanford Was Involved
“I just believe it’s all a big lie,” his girlfriend of seven years, Katoria McMillian, said. “He’s not that type of person, and I don’t think he had nothing to do with this.”
She said Coleman lied in court when he said Hanford was his accomplice.
“I’ve seen him, but I don’t really know him like that. I don’t know, maybe (it’s) over some hatred. I don’t know. I don’t believe none of it,” McMillian said.
Hanford is being held without bail. His next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 22.