Judge Russell F. Canan agreed, sentencing him to 10 years in prison. “You terrified those people,” Canan said.
Graves, 20, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter after a mistrial in May.
Police found Joyner on the 1400 block of Canal Street Southwest suffering from a gunshot wound to the torso. During the trial, an eye-witness testified that Joyner was trying to rob Graves before he shot him outside of his home near Nationals Park.
Defense Attorney Janet Mitchell argued that Graves has changed, is remorseful for his actions, and is hopeful for the future.
“I’ve known Donte since he was 18, and he has grown up in the last two years and feels sorry for his actions,” Mitchell said. “He understands there is a life outside of Northwest that he can aspire too.”
Mitchell asked the judge to grant the Youth Act Study Observation, so Graves would be able to find employment once time is served. The act requires young offenders convicted for felony offenses, including murder, be transferred to the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Prisons for treatment and rehabilitation.
Liebman, the prosecutor, argued that this is Graves’ second involvement in a murder case and was “concerned that if this had gone to retrial, Graves would have been acquitted.”
Before his ruling, Judge Canan denied the Youth Act because of Graves’ criminal history and behavior.
Addressing the court, Graves said, “I”m sorry to the family, and I want to thank my family.”