Teacher of teens convicted of murder says boys made 'devastating' choice

Henry Hayes, Kquame Richardson killed Aiden McClendon, injured 2 others

By Jenese Harris - Reporter/anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - An attorney for one of the teenagers found guilty of murder earlier this month in the shooting death of toddler Aiden McClendon in 2016 is asking for new trial. 

Henry Hayes' attorney filed the motion Tuesday. The attorney for the second teen, Kquame Richardson, has not filed a motion.

Prosecutors said Aiden was the unintended victim of shots fired at an older relative who was a member of a gang. Aiden's great grandmother was also hit by gunfire during the drive-by shooting.

Edward Moore, who taught both Richardson and Hayes at Northwestern Middle School, said they were good kids who had promising futures. 

Moore said despite the horrible choices they made that landed them in prison, he believes they can still live positive lives.

"Henry Hayes was very good kid -- a very special kid. I taught him seventh and eighth grade. He was a scholar who was an A-B honor roll scholar," Moore said. "Kquame was a scholar."

He calls the choices these scholars made "devastating."

Moore also mentored the two boys through Brothers Accountable Driven and Determined to help teen boys.  He wants more programs like BADD in Jacksonville.

"It takes a village to raise a child. I believe that we have gotten so far from that," Moore said.

Moore painfully watched online as the guilty verdicts for his former students were read.

"Lives are lost. One life is in the ground," he said. "Two lives may probably not going to see the light of day outside of walls. And not just those three; you have the parents."

Moore still believes that the two, now 19-year-olds, can turn their lives around.

"I do believe that this is something that, regardless, they have learned something," Moore said. "The Henry that I knew and the Henry that I know will be a better man because of it."

Moore sent a letter to Hayes in prison, but he doesn't know if he received it. Moore truly believes that both young men have good hearts, but they made horrible decisions.

Hayes and Richardson will be back in court Aug. 6 to be sentenced on their convictions on murder and attempted murder charges.

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