“I cried that day because you were so young,” Kofi Ross Minor told her brother’s killer, DeAndre Shaheed before his sentencing. “This little boy, this baby, who looked so innocent, stole my brother’s life.”
On Friday, Judge Jennifer Anderson sentenced Shaheed to 20 years in prison for his actions. Williams, she told Shaheed, “is an example of how you can rise above circumstances.”
Williams’ mother Ife Chambers told the court Friday that her son had finished a degree program at Catholic University while working full-time just before his death.
In his business plan, Williams aspired to start a nonprofit whose ultimate purpose was to uplift marginalized people, Chambers said.
“Make no mistake,” Bradford said, “this is not the act of someone not thinking about what he’s doing, this was a calculated act.”
Shaheed and the men followed Williams from the Deanwood Metro stop, even taking a short cut to beat him home.
Co-defendants Neal and Robinson pleaded guilty to armed robbery in connection with the case on August 5.
“My brother lived and breathed about your hope,” Ross Minor said, but he “died alone on the street because of selfishness.”
Akintunde Paul, Williams’ brother, told the court that he lived with his brother for ten years before his death. In that time, Williams “stretched himself thin in order for me to to enjoy myself,” Paul said.
“He was a big inspiration for me in my life. He was the person who I strived to be like.”
Feir Pace, Shaheed’s girlfriend, told the court that Shaheed was remorseful for his actions, and had even cried on a phone call with her. “There’s no excuse for what he’s done,” she said, but “he has a heart.”
Shaheed’s attorney Steven Kiersh said Shaheed seemed to have “a very genuine evolution” towards feeling very remorseful. Shaheed, Kiersh said, was very nervous and “not much of a public speaker”, so he instead asked Kiersh to express his apologies.
Regarding his client’s sentence, Kiersh requested that Shaheed should receive some “small benefit” from his decision to plea, rather than subject the Williams family to a trial.
Before his sentence was read, Shaheed turned to Williams family and said simply, “I apologize to the family.”
A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office is below.
District Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison
For Killing Man in Robbery
-Victim Was Accosted While Coming Home From Work
WASHINGTON – Deandre Shaheed, 19, was sentenced today to 20 years in prison after earlier pleading guilty to second-degree murder while armed in the slaying of a man who was on his way home from work, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
Shaheed, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty in July 2014 in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He was sentenced by the Honorable Jennifer Anderson. Upon completion of his prison term, Shaheed will be placed on five years of supervised release.
Two other men also pled guilty in July 2014 to charges in the case. Floyd Neal, 21, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty to one count of armed robbery and one count of carrying a dangerous weapon. Lafeyette Robinson, 21, also of Washington, D.C., pled guilty to one count of armed robbery. Neal and Robinson are to be sentenced Oct. 17, 2014.
According to the government’s evidence, on March 14, 2013, Shaheed, Neal, and Robinson decided to rob someone and armed themselves with a sawed-off shotgun. Robinson gave the shotgun to Shaheed. The group walked to the Deanwood Metro station in Northeast Washington, looking for a target.
Once there, they saw the victim, Akinwole Olu Williams, leaving the subway station. Mr. Williams, 31, who had completed his credits at Catholic University and was awaiting the formal graduation ceremony, was enroute home after work and after earlier attending a job fair. He was wearing a business suit and carrying two bags, one of which contained his job fair materials.
The group followed Mr. Williams and confronted him at about 11:40 p.m. in the 1000 block of 44th Street NE. Shaheed took the sawed off shotgun and pointed it at Mr. Williams, demanding his property. Mr. Williams resisted, and the two men wrestled over the shotgun in the street. Shaheed regained control of the weapon, pointed it at Mr. Williams, and shot him. The shot went through Mr. Williams’s job fair folder, through his hand, through his chest, and into his heart. He was taken to a hospital, but lifesaving efforts failed, and he died the following day.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of those who investigated the case for the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). He also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Victim/Witness Advocate Marcia Rinker; Paralegal Specialists Alesha Matthews Yette, Debra Joyner, and Kendra Johnson; Intelligence Analyst Zachary McMenamin, and Litigation Services Specialist Thomas R. Royal. Finally, he expressed appreciation for the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Deborah Sines and Michelle Bradford, and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Reagan Taylor, who prosecuted the case.