ST. Augustine, Florida. — The former St. Augustine High School football standout was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder Thursday in a 2020 double shooting that killed a 16-year-old classmate and her 21-year-old boyfriend.
Anferni Wilson, who was 19 when he was first charged, initially pleaded guilty to the deaths of 16-year-old Sydney Rownsville and her boyfriend, 21-year-old Kyle Stein. They were fatally shot in the parking lot of an apartment building in October 2020.
Last October, Wilson filed a motion to change his statement, which was granted in April, and a double homicide trial was scheduled this week, in which Wilson’s lawyers argued that he shot at the truck because he feared for his life.
Immediately following Thursday’s guilty verdict, Wilson was expected to be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
CONNECTED: Prominent St. Augustine football player accused of double shooting testifies he shot at a truck that was speeding towards him
The jury heard Wilson as he testified on Wednesday, but they will never know Rounceville and Stein’s point of view.
“Whatever mistakes you think they made, they paid for it with their lives,” the public prosecutor said Thursday during their closing speech.
It was a drug deal that turned into a tragedy.
The state’s attorney said the case was about liability, and Wilson knew what he was doing.
“Their life was not worth $650 because he wanted that money back, he took their lives,” the prosecutor said.
In a closing argument, the prosecutor confirmed that Wilson had arranged to buy a quarter pound of cannabis. In a message to Wilson from Rouncesville, she said, “I really trust you.”
When Wilson gave Stein money for drugs, something happened that caused an argument. Wilson said the quality of the drug was poor, so he asked for his money back. Witnesses said they then saw Wilson chase the truck with the gun before the truck crashed. Then, according to witnesses, Wilson walked up and shot the young couple, grabbed the money and weed, and ran off.
The defense forced jurors to focus on why Wilson had shot them.
“He only opened fire because a truck was driving straight at him at high speed and he was acting in self-defense,” the defender said.
Wilson fled the scene and left behind a trail of evidence that led police officers to his location. On the way to escape, money, his clothes, shoes and a phone were found. Wilson was found less than an hour after the shooting in a holding pond about a mile from Shadel Way and North St. Johns Street, deputies said.
He was seen on camera minutes after the shooting behind the warehouse.
Wilson’s attorney argued that the state provided evidence but did not provide any evidence of what led to the shooting.
The state said Wilson’s own confession on the stand that he had fired four shots at the truck was sufficient.
“Because I just committed a crime.” Of all the things he said, no more truthful words could be uttered. Self defense is not a crime. But deliberately shooting someone is a crime,” the prosecutor said.
Shaleen Rounsville said that Wilson and her daughter had known each other since high school.
“I have not forgotten that three young people died. Not only Kyle and Sydney, but he too. It didn’t escape me,” Rounceville said.
Shaleen said it was unfair that she never saw her daughter’s graduation and that Sydney would never marry or have children. She said that Sidney’s brother had recently had a baby, and Sidney would love being an aunt.
CONNECTED: ‘Their lives matter’: Mom wants people to remember 16-year-old, her boyfriend as jury selection begins in murder trial
Shaleen said she left some of her daughter’s ashes at Kyle’s grave. She plans to scatter the rest over the mountains and along the beach, two of Sydney’s favorite places.
She said she would do it now that the trial was over.
Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4JAX – All rights reserved.