Man gets 40 years for murder
Killed Westlake student last year in botched drug deal
The man convicted of murdering an 18-year-old Westlake High School student in October was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Monday in Charles County Circuit Court.
After a four-day trial in May, Deavan Quindel Jefferson, 20, was found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Reuel Laparis Hicks, 18, a senior at Westlake High School, who he shot in
the head after a drug deal went awry outside the AMC movie theater near the St. Charles Towne Center mall. The deal involved a small amount of marijuana.
Prosecutors believed Jefferson had intended to rob Hicks of the marijuana, while the defense argued that Jefferson acted in imperfect self-defense; they argued it was Hicks
and two of his friends who had intended to rob Jefferson behind the movie theater.
Jefferson was originally charged with first-degree murder, but the jury convicted him of second-degree murder.
Assistant state’s attorneys Jonathan Beattie and Constance Kopelman told the jury during the trial that it was not self-defense; the shooting was premeditated. Premeditation, they said, doesn’t necessarily have to be an elaborate plan,
rather just enough time to consider the act before committing it.
“You know what you’re going to do, you have time to think about the options, and you make a choice,” said Beattie during closing arguments. “He thought about it, he did it, and he’s guilty.”
Before Judge Erik H. Nyce, a Prince George’s County Circuit Court judge, sentenced Jefferson, members of the victim’s family made statements expressing how they felt about the day the
shooting happened and how Jefferson’s actions have affected the family.
Words were not minced and as tears flowed, so did anger, hate and disgust as the victim’s aunts and other family members told the judge why Jefferson should be given the full mandatory sentence of 58 years for killing their family member, one who they said had a promising career and life ahead of him.
“It hurts me every day; he didn’t destroy us ... he reached down into our family and stole from us,” said one of Hick’s aunts. “Judge, when you make that sentence today think as if it was your son. [Jefferson is a] monster.”
“You killed my son. He was unarmed and because of you, my son’s son was born without a father. I know you planned it and I hope you never never get out of jail,” said Hick’s mother.
“You failed, you coward. I hope your days are long and your nights are even longer,” said another of Hick’s aunts. “I hope even on your deathbed that God doesn’t have mercy on your soul.”
Jefferson’s parents were present in the courtroom but didn’t speak. Jefferson’s lawyers spoke on their behalf to the court.
The defense team asked the judge not to give the full mandatory sentence required by law, instead asking Nyce to consider the sentencing guideline of 18 to 35 years. The lawyer also made mention that Jefferson has an
issue of mental illness and that this should be considered when deciding the sentence. After a 45-minute recess, Nyce came back and delivered the sentence.
Jefferson was sentenced to a total of 50 years — 30 years for second-degree murder, and 20 years for a handgun charge to be served consecutively. With 10 years suspended, Jefferson will serve up to 40 years in prison.
“The level of harm was excessive,” Nyce said as he delivered the sentence.
“The [prosecuting] attorney did an excellent job on this case,” said Charles County State’s Attorney Anthony Covington (D). “For sentencing, the victim’s family was there and they were very supportive … we supported them and think that justice was served.”
“This is just another shaking-your-head situation of senseless violence [and] people gone way too soon,” Covington said.