Box of bullets leads to conviction in Miami slaying

Darrell Washington
Darrell Washington Miami-Dade Corrections

A box of bullets and testimony from his own cousins led to the conviction of a Miami man accused of killing a friend over a spilled drink.

Jurors late Friday convicted Darrell Washington, 31, for the January 2015 slaying of Josh Jems, 22.

At trial, jurors heard that Washington, two of his cousins and Jems had gone to a funeral and were driving back when he got angry over a spilled drink in his car. The argument escalated as the group hung out outside a home in Allapattah.

Washington fatally shot Jems, who had just gotten a job at the Port of Miami. The killer fled the scene but his two cousins eventually cooperated with homicide detectives, who soon found Washington’s car.

A box of 50 bullets, with 13 rounds missing, was found inside, according to a search warrant executed by Miami Detective Kevin Ruggiero. The bullets used to kill Jems were from that box, prosecutors Elena Doyle and Marshall Kaufman told jurors at trial.

Washington was originally charged with second-degree murder, although jurors returned a verdict of manslaughter with a firearm. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Diane Ward will sentence Washington on Sept. 29. He faces up to 30 years in prison.