PALM COAST, Fla. - Kwentel Moultrie, the 24-year-old charged with second degree murder in a 2021 home invasion as well as a weapons charge, has been sentenced to 35 years in prison. He will serve that consecutively with another 10-year sentence he was given for the rape of a 16-year-old girl, also in 2021.
The killing that led to Moultrie's lengthy sentence wasn't actually by his own hand. He had scheduled a drug deal with two friends, Zaire Roberts and Taylor Manjarres. The two were supposed to make the exchange with a fourth person, Danial Marashi. According to law enforcement, the trio instead tried to rob Marashi during the exchange, and in the ensuing conflict Marashi shot and killed Roberts. Though Marashi himself has a lengthy rap sheet in Flagler and Volusia counties, he was not charged with this killing, which was ruled as self-defense.
Moultrie and Manjarres were subsequently charged with second-degree murder for their role in the deadly exchange. Moultrie was re-incarcerated after being released on bond for the rape charge, which occurred lot long before the shooting. He was tried in April 2022, then again in August 2022 after a retrial, in January he was sentenced to ten years, having lost out on a potential plea deal that could've lessened the penalty because of his murder charge. Now, he's been stuck with 35 additional years due to the shooting death of Roberts. Manjarres is set to receive her own sentencing in the coming weeks.
Things could've gone even worse for Moultrie had he let the murder charge go to trial. His sentence of 35 years came as a result of a no contest plea entered days before that trial was set to begin; it would've been third felony trial since last spring.
“Although nothing will ever bring Zaire Roberts back, hopefully, this sentence will bring some sense of justice to his family,” said Flagler Sheriff Rick Staly. “Our Major Case Unit worked tirelessly from day one until this case was closed. This dirtbag should never see a day of freedom for the rest of his life.”
Contrary to Staly's sentiments, Moultrie will likely see the light of day again. His two sentences takes him to the age of 68, and he is credited with over a year of it already served at the county jail. He will be eligible for a few years' early release tied to certain conditions while in prison, but even would likely be several decades away.