La Plata, MD – Shondell Javon Middleton, 20 of Clinton, NC, learned his fate Monday, Nov. 7 in Charles County Circuit Court.
Visiting Judge Larnzell Martin Jr., who convicted Middleton of second-degree murder in a bench trial Sept. 15, sentenced the defendant to 30 years in the Maryland Department of Corrections, suspending all but 12 years for the stabbing death of Jordan Anthony Lucas, 18 of Waldorf in May 2015.
Martin denied a motion for a new trial for Middleton before hearing from both the state and defense and a slew of testimonials for and against punishment.
“He was an 18-year-old kid caught up in 72 hours of terror,” Defense Counsel James Papermeister told the court. “In 50 seconds he bolted out of the house and his life changed forever. I ask the court to reverse its verdict in the interest of justice. The verdict should be voluntary manslaughter.”
“Once the court makes its finding that the defendant is the aggressor, the imperfect self-defense argument goes out the window,” argued Charles County Assistant States Attorney Jeremy Widder. “Legally it is not going to be applicable.”
“It was not by chance that the court identified the moment when he became the aggressor,” Martin said in denying the defense motion for a new trial. “The evidence hasn’t changed.”
Charles County Assistant States Attorney John Stackhouse told the court that when Middleton has served his time—no matter what the court imposes—his family will eventually see his return.
“One thing no parent should ever have to do is bury their child,” Stackhouse said. “Jordon is not coming back.
“Mr. Middleton touched this whole thing off when he and Kevin Caldwell were going to purchase marijuana from Jordon, who said he didn’t have a scale,” the prosecutor said. “He went into a tobacco store to buy a scale and they left him there. What happened over the next two days, he was the catalyst. To suggest that he didn’t bring on this conflict is completely contrary to his own testimony.”
The initial incident sparked a two-day back and forth between Middleton against Lucas and his friends, who went to the defendant’s home at Adams Crossing in Waldorf, and among other things vandalized his mother’s car.
This scenario culminated in Middleton’s chasing Lucas down the street in Adams Crossing May 5, 2015 where the defendant stabbed the victim to death in the street.
Tony Lucas, the victim’s father, said his son’s death has left, “a sadness I suspect will be there forever.
“Our hearts are left with a permanent void,” he told the court.
Papermeister was unfazed.
“This court should not expect anything else from the state,” he said. “What did they think would happen? What has been lost in all this is that he [the victim] was a drug dealer.”
Middleton’s step-father, William Dickey, begged for leniency.
“It deeply saddens me, the life of your son being taken by mine,” he told Lucas’ parents. “I’m begging you, judge, to show mercy to my child.”
Middleton asked forgiveness from the parents also.
“I never intended to hurt Jordan or anyone,” he stated. “It burns me to the core of my soul.”
“Listening and hearing what is said on the side of the victim and the defendant, the court can’t make this right for anyone,” the judge said before handing down his sentence.
Middleton will be given credit for the 157 days he spent in custody, the judge said after suspending all but 12 years of the 30-year sentence. He ordered the defendant be placed on two years of supervised probation upon his release.
Originally posted at The BayNet: http://www.thebaynet.com/articles/1116/man-given-12-years-for-second-degree-murder.html