The case of

Keyona Renee' Griffin & Cherletta Dominique Baber-Bey

Victim

Keyona Renee' Griffin & Cherletta Dominique Baber-Bey

Victim Race

African-American

Victim Date of Birth

March 8, 1994 & January 11, 1972

Victim Age
Date Reported

2019-03-13

Date of Death

2019-03-13

Case Status

Open

Incident Location

Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

Body Location

Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

Date of Conviction

N/A

Body Discovered Date

2019-03-13

Murderer

N/A

Who Were Keyona Griffin & Cherletta Baber-Bey?

As this case is still open and it hasn’t gone to trial, many of the details about the victims aren’t known.

25-year-old Keyona Renee’ Griffin was born on March 8, 1994. She lived with her grandmother, 65-year-old Jacqueline Baber-Bey, her aunt, 47-year-old Cherletta Baber-Bey, and her aunt’s boyfriend, “Jay.” The family lived at 553 Sheldon Avenue, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and they had a “typical life.” Nothing out of the ordinary happened to them.

47-year-old Cherletta Baber-Bey was described as a loving and trustworthy person. Cherletta was known to be introverted, she avoided many social situations. “Jay” was her first true love, and the couple spent most of their time in Cherletta’s bedroom. The couple had been together for two years. It’s been reported that Cherletta’s family didn’t really like him; they knew that he had been in prison for failing to pay child support and he didn’t have a job but he made Cherletta happy so they tolerated him.

Victim Was Found Dead/Start of The Crime

Keyona Griffin’s brother, Sanford Cummings II, called 911 after discovering that his sister was dead. Sanford was driving past his grandmother’s house, and he saw one of her friends trying to move something, so he stopped to help. After helping, he went to see his sister but stumbled into a crime scene.

He didn’t realize that Cherletta had also been killed but the recording of his 911 call has been released. Sanford is obviously distressed by the scene he had discovered and he is begging for help.

The Crime Description

At 10.29 am on March 13, 2019, a call was made to 911 from Keyona Griffin. The audio from this call has been released, and Keyona Griffin can be heard whispering quietly. The dispatcher has difficulty hearing her but finally gets her name and address. Keyona claimed that someone was trying to kill her. Keyona Griffin also said that her auntie is already dead but this information wasn’t relayed to the police officers who were sent to her home.

Seven minutes and 41 seconds pass and this is when police officers arrive at 553 Sheldon Avenue. They knocked on the door three times, but there was no answer. They also try the doorknob, but it’s locked. One of the officers looked through the window and said he could see a small dining room but it was empty. Police didn’t know that Keyona Griffin had told 911 that her aunt Cherletta had already been killed, so the officers didn’t have a reason to force entry. They left after 3 minutes.

Two hours later, Sanford called 911 to report his sister’s murder.

Suspect or Convicted Killer Details

People who knew Derrell Demon Brown described him as a polite, unassuming man. However, he also had a paranoid personality disorder. Derrell was very interested in conspiracy theories and he didn’t have an email address or use social media, he didn’t even have a mobile phone.

Derrell was from Grand Rapids and before he met Cherletta, he had been homeless. A local Reverend had taken pity on Derrell and had offered him a place to stay if he would help out with little jobs that needed doing around the church. Around three months after the Reverend had taken Derrell in, he received a call from a woman who claimed that Derrell, or Jay as she knew him, was her boyfriend. She really liked him, but he had become controlling.

It was now at the point where he forbade her from speaking to other men. This was a problem because her job as a grocery checkout clerk meant that she had to speak to male customers, and Derrell Brown’s demands were interfering with her job. The woman was hoping the Reverend could speak to Derrell and get him to loosen up a bit.

Derrell saw that his girlfriend was speaking to the Reverend, so he barged into the room and demanded to know what was happening. The Reverend decided to have a conversation with them both, and during this conversation, Derrell lunged at his girlfriend. He went to slap her, but the Reverend managed to restrain him. After this outburst, the Reverend ordered Derrell to leave and suggested that he seek professional help for his anger.

Aside from this example, Derrell had a history of harassment and control toward previous girlfriends. In 2005, he was arrested for felony assault on his then-girlfriend. It wasn’t a “moment of rage”; this assault went on all night. Her wrists and ankles were bound; he urinated on her, kicked her in the face, and doused her in lighter fluid while holding a lighter, and he threatened to burn her alive. This woman managed to escape because she pleaded for help from her oldest child’s school bus driver, who obliged, and Derrell was arrested. Unfortunately, for several reasons, the woman didn’t cooperate and the county prosecutor offered a plea deal.

Investigation Details

When police officers responded to Sanford’s call, they found Keyona Griffin’s naked body in one of the second-floor bedrooms. She was lying on the floor, and she had been shot four times, one of which had hit her in the face. There was bloody duct tape found at the scene. It was still attached to the roll, and the tape had been repeatedly wrapped in a circle.

In a back bedroom, police found the body of Cherletta. She was propped up in her bed, and she was still wearing earphones. An iPad was still playing next to her, and upon closer inspection, officers discovered that she had been shot in the back of the head, as well as a second gunshot wound, but it’s not known where this wound was. Because of the position she had been found in, it’s thought that Cherletta didn’t know the attack was coming. This had now become a double murder investigation.

In Cherletta’s closet, police found a box of letters. These jail letters had been sent from Grand Rapids prison and were signed by a “Jay Johnson.” He had been jailed for failing to pay child support. While this bothered Cherletta’s family, she saw past this and fell in love with him.

Outside, in the alleyway next to the house, police found a white plastic bag. Inside this bag was a 9mm Hi-Point pistol, and next to the bag was a “fresh” box of ammunition. This pistol is believed to be the alleged murder weapon. The serial number on the pistol matched a gun box that investigators had found in “Jay’s” underwear drawer.

When police opened up the box, they found a purchase permit that had the name of the person who had bought the gun. It was a woman’s name, and this woman had reported the gun stolen in July 2017, almost two years before the double murder. At the same time, she filed a complaint against her then-boyfriend, who she called “Jay.”

With this information, along with the jail sentence, they knew “Jay” had served, police could finally figure out who “Jay Johnson” was. They found out that this man’s name wasn’t Jay Johnson at all. Cherletta Baber-Bey’s boyfriend was known as 44-year-old Derrell Demon Brown.

There was no sign of Derrell at the murder scene, but CCTV captured him roughly a mile away around two hours after the bodies had been found. He was later captured on surveillance footage at the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum at 3.24 pm and was there for around 12 minutes. Security footage from a business captured Derrell walking around a neighborhood a mile from the museum around 20 minutes later.

Since that business security footage, Derrell Demon Brown hasn’t been seen. He disappeared, and he hasn’t been arrested or charged with the murders of Cherletta and Keyonna. Derrell is currently on the U.S. Marshals Most Wanted list.

Trial

N/A

Verdict

N/A

Frequently Asked Questions

What happened to Keyona Griffin?

Keyona Griffin was murdered by Derrell Demon Brown. He’s currently on the U.S. Marshals Most Wanted list and is still on the run, possibly hiding in plain sight.

Has Derrell Demon Brown been caught?

No, at the time of writing this, in August 2022, double murder suspect Derrell Brown is still on the run. The search for this man has become a worldwide manhunt.

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