Sentencing of Harris, Smith and Hatton Concludes 21st and Vietnam Murder Trial

On Friday, Judge Lynn Leibovitz sentenced Johnnie Harris, Jekwan Smith and Anthony Hatton for the 2011 shooting deaths of Isaiah Sheffield and Tyrell Fogle, bringing to a close a series of interlocking cases that have lingered in the court for more than two years.

The three codefendants are linked by their allegiance to 21st and Vietnam, a neighborhood gang whose members were indicted on 21 criminal charges. On Sept. 8, they pleaded guilty to criminal charges in connection with the murders.

Harris was sentenced to 10 years in prison for one count of voluntary manslaughter while armed in connection with Sheffield’s death.

Smith pleaded guilty to two counts of voluntary manslaughter while armed; one for the murder of Sheffield and another for the 2007 murder of Michael Pearson. The judge sentenced Smith to 17 and half years for each count, to run concurrently.

Hatton received a sentence of 15 years imprisonment for second-degree murder while armed in connection with Fogle’s murder.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Bach expressed her concern regarding the lack of remorse from the defendants.

She told the court that when prosecutors had asked Hatton why he killed Fogle, he said,”I didn’t want to kill him, I just wanted to shoot him. I shot his leg and he died, so what the f—?”

On Aug. 29, 2011, Hatton was trying to shoot an individual who started an argument with his friend when he “ran down firing at whoever he could get,” said Bach.

Fogle, 17, was shot and killed while riding his bike.

He lived a life filled with innocence and happiness, and his actions showed this,” Fogle’s mother, Sadie Kirkland, said in a victim impact statement.

Less than a month later, Smith and Harris shot at Sheffield while he was riding his bike down 21st Street Northeast.

In the days leading up to his own murder, Sheffield was “distraught about the murder of a good friend, Tyrell Fogle,” AUSA Bach said. The 24-year-old had also lost his mother around the same time.

Kirkland said that unlike her son Tyrell, Hatton was given a second chance at life.

So with this chance that God has given him again, I would hope that he can redeem himself and come out and be a more productive person,” Kirkland said as she wept, “not just for himself, but for his family and his community.”

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