A jury in Fulton County, Ga. on Thursday found 22-year-old DeMario Ware guilty of felony murder and two lesser charges for his role in the murder of former world champion Vernon Forrest, according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Ware did not fire the gun that killed the 38-year-old Atlanta welterweight the night of July 29, 2009, but was convicted on charges of felony murder, armed robbery and possession of a gun during commission of a crime, according to The Journal Constitution.
Ware robbed Forrest at gunpoint, taking the boxer’s gold championship ring and Rolex watch. Forrest produced his own handgun and chased Ware, who ran and hid in a nearby apartment building.
Forrest failed to catch Ware and had begun to walk back to his car when he was shot twice in the back by co-defendant Charman Sinkfield, who then walked up to the fallen fighter and unloaded eight more shots.
After the murder, Sinkfield, Ware and a third co-defendant, Jquante Crews, fled in a car driven by Crews. Both Sinkfield and Crews are due in court for similar charges as Ware, with Sinkfield facing the death penalty.
Known as "The Viper," Forrest (41-3, 29 KOs) twice earned welterweight crowns, wearing the IBF, and, WBC belts on separate occasions. Forrest also won the WBC junior middleweight title.
Forrest is most widely known as being the first man to twice defeat world champion, Shane Mosley, doing so by consecutive unanimous decisions in January and July of 2002.
Sergio Mora split matchups with Forrest, dethroning him for the WBC junior middleweight belt to improve to 21-0-1 with a majority decision in June of 2008, and then, losing that crown three months later by a one-sided, unanimous decision.
The second bout with Mora was Forrest's last fight.
Forrest was known for his youth charity work with an organization called,Destiny's Child, a not for profit group home that assists people with developmental, emotional, psychological disabilities and needs.
A Hall Of Fame fighter and former three-time beltholder, Arguello was found dead on July 1 of a gunshot wound to the chest in his home outside of his native Managua, Nicaragua, where he had recently become mayor.
Authorities ruled Arguello's death a suicide.
On July 11, Gatti was found dead in his hotel room in Brazil where he was vacationing with his wife, who was originally arrested and charged with his murder, but later, released.
Initially ruled a suicide, the circumstances surrounding Gatti's death still are being investigated.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]