“It is true you were making recent strides to help your family and friends out, but facts show that you have been committing crimes for 30 years,” Judge Russell Canan told Shepherd before delivering the sentence.
“You weren’t out of prison a year before killing Mr. Miller.”
Shepherd, 51, was convicted of first-degree murder while armed, including related weapons and destruction of property charges in July.
Around 1:00 a.m. on June 3, 2012, Miller was found in the 1100 block of Chicago Street Southeast suffering from gunshot wounds. He died an hour later from his injuries at a local hospital. He was 32 years old.
“Shepherd was the aggressor. There was a verbal argument and Shepherd went to his car and returned to murder Miller,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Silvia Gonzalez Roman said in court. “This was a thoughtless and unprovoked murder.” She added that after the murder, Shepherd fled the scene and engaged in a three mile high-speed chase with police.
During a victim impact statement, Miller’s aunt said that her nephew’s death has affected her family a great deal.
“We lost a loved one in the family. He had children,” Earma Thomas said. “It hurt our family so much.”
At trial, Miller’s cousin Jayda Ingram testified that she saw Shepherd shoot Miller in the mouth after an argument.
William Roberts, Shepherd’s defense attorney, argued that Shepherd has grown from his past.
“Shepherd is a man who came a long way in a short period of time,” Roberts said. “He began a life with his wife and child.”
Shepherd addressed the court as he maintained his innocence.
“I didn’t shoot that man,” Shepherd said. “I can’t bring that man back, but he pulled a gun out on me.” He added: “There is nothing I can do, but I’m sorry.”
During trial, Shepherd testified in his own defense, arguing that his life was in danger.
“I tried to keep him from shooting me,” Shepherd told the jury. “We were both struggling and I tried to twist it so he could drop the gun, but the gun went off.”
Additional reporting by Amelia Rufer.