WATERLOO — A Waterloo teen on Monday told the stepfather of the young man he was accused of killing he was sorry for his loss.
But Doncorrion Deangelo Spates, 18, continued to maintain his innocence in the 2016 drive-by shooting death of 21-year-old Otavious Brown as he was sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder.
He also was sentenced to concurrent 25- and 10-year prison sentences for attempted murder and intimidation with a weapon in the shooting.
“I did not kill your son. ... I did not fire shots into a crowd of people,” said Spates, who was 15 years old at the time of the crime and has since earned his high school diploma while in jail awaiting the outcome of his case.
Spates Monday said he didn’t know a shooting was going to take place.
“What happened to your son should not have happened,” Spates said. “I am not a murderer. I am not a killer. I am not a predator. In fact, I am a victim of false imprisonment.”
Brown’s stepfather, Raymond Birden Sr., said he and Brown’s mother forgave Spates for the shooting — which happened in broad daylight July 17, 2016, on Logan Avenue and injured two others — and he encouraged Spates to continue to better himself and get to know Jesus while incarcerated.
“We can’t rewrite the past, but we can rewrite your future. ... We want you to do well,” Birden said. “I want you to read books, get your education so you can be productive, and doors will open for you.”
Judge Brad Harris said Birden’s comments and Spates’ troublesome upbringing led him to imposing the sentence without a mandatory minimum stint, meaning he can be considered for parole soon.
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Because Spates was a juvenile at the time of the crime, he was spared a sentence of life without parole, which is mandatory for adults convicted of murder.
Prosecutor James Katcher had pushed for a mandatory minimum of 17-and-a-half years on the attempted murder charge, saying it would send the community a message about justice in a case at the center of ongoing violence.
“If the public doesn’t perceive that justice is being done, then we run into the problem of street justice being carried out. Mr. Martin has already lost his life in large part, it can be assumed, due to the street justice that was inflicted upon him,” said Katcher.
He was referring to Shavondez Shavez Martin, 22, who went on trial with Spates and was acquitted on all charges before he was gunned down in an alley May 31, 2018. Birden’s other son, 20-year-old Raymond Birden Jr., is charged with murder in Martin’s death.
Defense attorney John Bishop pointed out the difficulty his client had growing up.
When Doncorrion Spates was 5 years old, his father, Christopher Deangilo Spates, was sent to prison for life for the slaying of Thyanna Parsons in 2004, shot while attending a house party; one older brother, Kristopher Darquel Spates Jr., is incarcerated for opening fire outside a downtown nightclub in 2016, injuring one; and his other brother, Quaderious Spates, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in a fatal accident with a stolen gun in the basement of his grandmother’s home in October 2014, Bishop noted.
“Doncorrion was deprived of a male figure ... to show him the right way, to teach him how to be a mature young man and to stay away from the people that we think kind of led him to where he’s at today,” Bishop said.
“We have kids shooting at kids because they have a disagreement they lack the behavioral maturity to resolve between themselves as adults would,” Bishop said.