MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A reputed Liberty City gang member is going to prison for life without parole in the case of a South Beach nightclub slaying.
A Miami-Dade County jury found Nakavius Paul guilty of First Degree murder for the June 21, 2010 death of Robert Jerome Edwards, 21, at the now-defunct Heathrow Lounge, which was located at 681 Washington Avenue.
The jury deliberated for approximately two hours before reaching its decision.
Minutes before the verdict was read, the prosecutor warned the victims’ family members that they should be prepared that the verdict may not be what they expect.
“We gave it our best shot,” prosecutor Michael Von Zamft told relatives and friends of Robert Edwards who were seated on the left side of the courtroom.
On the opposite side of the pews, the defendant’s family and friends took a seat. Recognizing the potentially volatile scene, the courtroom on the second floor of the Miami-Dade Criminal Courthouse at 1351 NW 12th Street was packed with a dozen Miami-Dade Corrections officers and half-a-dozen Miami-Dade police officers.
After the guilty verdict was read, one supporter gasped, but was quickly quieted by a nearby officer. Paul’s family and friends walked out silently.
Police said Paul was a member of a violent street gang known as “Str8 Drop” which had gathered at the nightclub for a hip-hop party.
After getting into an argument with Paul, Edwards, also known as “Red Rob”, was shot in the back at point-blank range, according to police.
Surveillance video from the night of the shooting showed Edwards walking into the club at 1:55 in the morning. An hour later, three men walk to the back of the bar, where seconds later, he was shot.
The gunfire also grazed Ruben Mitchell, who said it was pandemonium after the gunshots rang out. The surveillance video supported that claim and showed a stampede of people running out of the bar.