Murderer sentenced to 35 years
A 23-year-old Little Rock man was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Monday for killing a romantic rival.
Deontae Antonio “Hood D” Fulton was convicted of first-degree murder last month for the June 2013 slaying of 22-year-old Juan Reyes. Fulton will have to serve 24 ½ years before he can apply for parole.
He did not testify at his January bench trial before Pulaski County Circuit Judge Herb Wright or at Monday’s sentencing hearing but did submit a letter to the judge.
Fulton’s lawyers had argued that his cousin, Atarius Bishop of Conway, had killed Reyes because Bishop’s girlfriend, Morisha McCoy, had jilted Bishop, first for Fulton, then had left Fulton for Reyes, whom she
had dated before.
McCoy had been involved with both Bishop and with Fulton while Reyes had been in jail but had moved in with Reyes after he was released, according to trial testimony.
Reyes was found by Little Rock police, killed by a bullet in his head, in the driveway of his Katherine Street home. Bishop testified at trial that he, Fulton and Reyes had been together in front of Reyes’ home on the date of the slaying. Bishop said Fulton had tried to bait Reyes into a fight about McCoy.
He said he did not see Fulton shoot Reyes but that he heard a gunshot and then saw Reyes lying on the ground. Bishop testified that he then saw Fulton holding a gun that he had not seen before.
At Monday’s sentencing, Reyes’ mother cried as she described the loss of her son. The man’s death has been particularly hard on Reyes’ 7-yearold son, Francisca Martinez told the judge.
“It [his death] was the worst day of my life. My grandson threw himself on top of the grave. My grandson keeps asking me why was his father killed,” the mother of
CHARLES H. four and grandmother of three
BOYER DR. said through an interpreter. “I’m not able to be the same grandmother I was because I am so sad now.”
Reyes’ aunt also cried as she recalled how upsetting her nephew’s death has been for his close-knit family, including his grandmother in El Salvador. She said she still remembers the moment she learned Reyes, who was also a neighbor, had been killed.
“My mother has been suffering,” Lillian Reyes told the judge, saying the woman has difficulty getting out of bed and eating. “I can’t get it out of my mind how I opened the door and saw the ambulance pass by.”
She told the judge she saw her nephew’s body lying in the driveway, but police would not let her go to him.
Testifying on Fulton’s behalf was his mother, Janice Lee, who asked the judge to take into consideration her son’s longtime struggle with mental illness, saying he had been afflicted with bipolar disorder.
Deputy prosecutor John Hout told the judge that Fulton had been examined for mental illness, with state doctors diagnosing him as faking being mentally ill. Fulton’s lawyer, Sara Merritt, pointed out that Fulton has a 16-year history of exhibiting symptoms of mental illness and has been hospitalized numerous times for displaying such symptoms.
She asked the judge to take into consideration that Fulton is the father of a young child and has little prior criminal history beyond misdemeanor convictions for carrying a weapon and terroristic threatening.