Mom to shooter: ‘I have to for­give’

3-year-old was shot in head; Detroit man gets 17-32 years

The Detroit News - - Region - BY ORALANDAR BRAND-WIL­LIAMS The Detroit News

A Detroit man was sen­tenced Thurs­day to 17-32 years in prison for shoot­ing a 3-year-old in the head while fir­ing at an­other per­son at a west-side gas sta­tion.

Exel Tay­lor, 24, was given the sen­tence by Judge Ulysses Boykin dur­ing a hear­ing in Wayne County Cir­cuit Court.

Lon­don Mul­grow, now 4, was left with a bul­let in her brain af­ter get­ting shot dur­ing an ar­gu­ment be­tween Tay­lor and an­other man April 7. The girl’s mother, Lau­rice Hen­der­son, had just pulled up to the sta­tion at Liver­nois and War­ren when the gun­fire be­gan.

Lon­don was sit­ting in the back seat of the ve­hi­cle when a bul­let tore through the wind­shield and struck her.The man Tay­lor was shoot­ing at took cover be­hind the mother’s car.

Hen­der­son broke down and had to leave the court­room while giv­ing her vic­tim im­pact state­ment about how the shoot­ing has af­fected her only child, her­self and her fam­ily.

But she told Tay­lor, “I have to for­give you in or­der to be there for my daugh­ter’s heal­ing. Mr. Tay­lor, I do for­give you ’cause I know the ac­tions that you made, you didn’t mean to harm my child but you did.”

Hen­der­son added, “You have to suf­fer the con­se­quences,” say­ing Tay­lor hurt her and that the shoot­ing has left her and Lon­don with lin­ger­ing men­tal and phys­i­cal scars and a deep sense of fear.

“I’m afraid to go to gas sta­tions,” Hen­der­son said. “I’m scared to be out late at night with my kid. You hurt me in so many ways. I have to ex­cuse you in or­der to as­sure my daugh­ter she’s go­ing to be OK.”

Hen­der­son said her young daugh­ter, now 4, asks her, “Why did I (have) these scars?”

The child spent 28 days in the hospi­tal and un­der­went two sur-

geries. Lon­don doesn’t know what hap­pened to her, says her mother.

“I’m the one who’s trau­ma­tized. Not her, ’cause she don’t know,” Hen­der­son said.

“I hope to­day in go­ing for­ward that you will just try to grow as a per­son ... grow as a man,” she told Tay­lor. “Not only did you hurt my fam­ily, you hurt your fam­ily, too. (Tay­lor’s mom) is hurt­ing just like I’m hurt­ing be­cause we both wound up in this sit­u­a­tion just be­cause you (weren’t) think­ing.”

Tay­lor, a fa­ther of four, said he didn’t mean for the girl to get hurt. “I’m very sorry. I’m so sorry,” he said. “It was a mis­take. I did not know she was there. I’m not a vi­o­lent per­son. I pray ev­ery night. I can’t sleep at night. It could have been my daugh­ter. At the same time, I was scared for my life.”

But the judge said his cul­pa­bil­ity was “not di­min­ished” be­cause “you in­tended to shoot some­body.”

Boykin told Tay­lor the hard­ship he brought on the child and her mother

“Peo­ple want to re­solve their dif­fer­ences that re­sort to gun­fire re­gard­less of who else is around,” Boykin said. “Un­for­tu­nately in this sit­u­a­tion, a very young child was se­ri­ously wounded. I un­der­stand that she is re­cov­er­ing but there are lim­i­ta­tions that go along with that and hard­ship.”

Tay­lor’s de­fense at­tor­ney, Ka­reem John­son, pleaded for a lower sen­tence.

“There have been sev­eral cases this year in which in­di­vid­u­als who ac­tu­ally killed peo­ple in Wayne County who have ac­tu­ally got­ten the same or less time,” John­son said. “We ask the court to re­con­sider. (Tay­lor) has no prior crim­i­nal his­tory. He is a young man (and) his re­ha­bil­i­ta­tive qual­i­ties are very ex­tremely high.”

Tay­lor was charged with three counts of as­sault with in­tent to com­mit mur­der, car­ry­ing a con­cealed weapon, car­ry­ing a weapon with un­law­ful in­tent and four counts of felony firearms. Two of the lesser charges, both weapons vi­o­la­tions, were dis­missed.

He pleaded guilty Aug. 24, the day his bench trial was to be­gin.

“can­not

be

mea­sured.”

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