Investigation Discovery’s ‘Caught in the Net: Out of Chaos’ chronicles how 22-year-old Maurice Skeen was killed outside his grandmother’s Albany, New York, residence in mid-March 2020. The chain of events ensued because of Maurice’s cousin’s Facebook post and resulted in a young life being lost while another was jailed. If you wish to learn more about the case, including the killer’s identity and current whereabouts, we’ve your back. Let’s begin then, shall we?
How Did Maurice Skeen Die?
Maurice J. Skeen was born on January 24, 1998. His grandmother Tracy Coleman’s home in Madison and New Scotland Avenue in Albany, New York, serves as the very core of her family. Tracy assumed guardianship of Maurice at the tender age of five, molding him into a scholar, an athlete, and a burgeoning rapper. She recalls his initial passion for basketball, which evolved into a deep love for music. Tracy added, “He was too good for this life; he was too good for this world. And God placed that baby in my life, and all he did was make it better.”
She added, “I never heard anyone say they didn’t like him, or he had beef in the streets with people that didn’t like him. That wasn’t him. He wasn’t that kid.” However, the once love-filled household turned into a dwelling of sorrow when the life of the 22-year-old was tragically ended prematurely. Tracy stated, “I don’t have my baby to walk past my bedroom every morning, and to come in and kiss me and say ‘Gram, you OK? Do you need anything?’ He hasn’t said that to me since March 2020. It’s not fair.”
According to Tracy, a massive brawl erupted on March 18, with scores of individuals descending upon her residence, seeking to settle a dispute sparked by a social media post from another family member. Tragically, it was during this tumultuous situation that Maurice, 22, was fatally stabbed and lost his life. She said, “Family was always first for him, and he died protecting his family.” Tracy held his hand and sat beside him as he lay on the sidewalk with a stab wound to his chest.
Who Killed Maurice Skeen?
Tracy added, “Every day I go outside that door, all I see is me holding his hand,” she explained, looking out the front gate of her alley. Every day, a memorial burns in front of her home, but Albany police have yet to arrest anyone till September 2020. The family firmly believes they know the perpetrator and is eagerly awaiting the filing of charges. Tracy claimed, “The person or the persons who did this didn’t hate him. They didn’t know him to hate him. But they’re still walking around enjoying their life, with no consequences. It’s not fair.”
Albany police said the investigation was still open and were confident they would hold the person who did it accountable. However, Tracy claimed she was tired of waiting next to her grandson’s memorial. She added, “I love the Albany police. I never not saw them do their job. I never had a negative experience with them … but they failed me. They failed Maurice.” The chain of events unfolded when Maurice’s cousin, then 18, posted an offensive comment on Facebook about a 22-year-old woman who was Darius “Draino” Cokely’s close friend.
The woman had tragically passed away just three weeks prior, and the insensitive remark regarding her due to her disability incensed Darius and her friends. They decided to confront the 18-year-old outside the grandmother’s residence on Madison Avenue, which happened to be both Maurice’s and his cousin’s grandmother’s home. This confrontation escalated into a violent altercation, during which Maurice sustained a stab wound to the chest. The victim’s relative, Chante Coleman, heard Darius make the threat.
Assistant District Attorney Joseph Brucato alleged he told Maurice, “I will kill you,” moments before the stabbing. During the confrontation, Maurice mushed his hand into Darius’s face. The prosecution highlighted slowed-down video footage to show an object in Darius’s hand. Joseph claimed, “That is a knife. If that is not a knife, what is it?” Twenty-two minutes after he left the scene, Darius deactivated his Facebook account. He called two bus companies and then traveled to New York City. The prosecutors claimed he also stopped using his phone.
Where is Darius Cokely Now?
During the November 2022 trial, the pivotal evidence during the two-week court proceedings revolved around video recordings of the brawl occurring on Madison Avenue near Washington Park on March 18, 2020. The lead prosecutor urged the jurors to closely examine the footage, emphasizing what he believed was a knife in Darius’s hand. The prosecution also stated Darius was the only one with the knife in over 30 people involved. The defense counsel pointed out that none of the witnesses had positively identified Darius as the perpetrator.
Darius had the opportunity to request lesser-included charges but opted to stake everything on either an acquittal or a conviction. Tracy testified, “I saw you, Draino. I saw you lunge at my grandson. I saw you stab my baby. I saw you murder my grandson. It wasn’t just Maurice. You came to kill whatever was in front of you.” Darius was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in February 2023. He, 23, remains incarcerated at the Upstate Correctional Facility and will be eligible for parole in April 2046.
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