Va. Beach man to serve 21 years in murder of man, robbery of juvenile

Taji Blackston

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – A Virginia Beach man will serve 21 years in prison in the August 2014 murder of Gilbert McGriff.

20-year-old Taji Rakwaan Blackston pleaded guilty to charges of second degree murder, robbery, attempted robbery, use of a firearm and conspiracy back in August.

Blackston, Jahmon Blount and a group of people planned to purchase marijuana from a male juvenile at City View Park. Blackston, McGriff and the other men then robbed the juvenile and his girlfriend at gunpoint.

Blackston and the group later planned to rob McGriff of his gun, drugs, and shoes. When the men attempted to rob McGriff, he grabbed for the gun pointed at him and a struggle ensued.

One of the men in Blackston’s group was grazed in the face by a bullet during the struggle, and McGriff was shot in the buttocks, according to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office. The men fled, leaving McGriff bleeding out in the street. McGriff was able to tell them that he was shot and his gun was stolen, and he died shortly thereafter at a local hospital.

Blackston was arrested and during an interview with detectives, confessed to his involvement.

Blount is serving 38 years in prison for his role in the crimes.