Man murdered close friend after killer’s sister called 911 to report abuse

Man murdered close friend after killer’s sister called 911 to report abuse

Syracuse, NY — A Syracuse man was sent to prison Friday for shooting to death a close friend after hearing that his friend may have physically attacked his sister.

Nehemiah Jones, 31, had never denied that he shot to death Michael Simpson on Sept. 10, 2021 on the porch of a Midland Avenue residence. He’d turned himself in to police afterward.

But Jones’s lawyer, Ken Christopher, said Friday during Jones’s sentencing that his client only killed Simpson after hearing that Simpson had just physically attacked Jones’s sister.

Prosecutor Megan Peter confirmed that Jones’s sister was taken to a nearby hospital after a 911 call that day, but said she did not believe the sister had suffered any visible injuries from Simpson’s alleged attack.

Jones’s decision to kill Simpson was a huge overreaction to whatever happened, Peter indicated. He likely didn’t even see the sister he was concerned about before killing Simpson.

The defendant agreed that he’d gone too far in his friend’s death.

“It’s not something that I would ever scheme or dream of going to do, especially to a a friend,” Jones told a judge Friday, adding later: “I had a terrible reaction and I made a decision that I can’t take back... I do consider him a brother, and it’s just something that I’m going to have to live with.”

Prosecutors had sought a 20-year-to-life sentence in Simpson’s death. But County Court Judge Thomas J. Miller agreed to a slightly lower sentence of 18-years-to-life. That means that Jones will see his first parole board after 18 years, but could stay in prison for life.

Simpson’s father, who has the same name, wrote a letter to the court that called Jones a “coward” and questioned how he could kill someone who he knew so well.

My son’s life “was taken by a man, who by all accounts, was a close friend,” the elder Simpson wrote.