Deshawn Deaondre Roberts was sentenced to 21 years in prison Nov. 19 for accidentally killing his friend while shooting “wildly” into a group of people in Brooklyn Park’s Central Park on April 24, 2012.
Roberts, 19, of Brooklyn Center pleaded guilty Oct. 11 to second-degree unintentional murder in the death of 16-year-old Terrence Creamer of Columbia Heights.
When Roberts pleaded guilty, he admitted a group of people were at Central Park the evening of April 24 for a barbeque when a disagreement occurred and several people went to the parking lot where Roberts was going to fight one of the other young men. During the argument, Roberts grabbed a gun and started shooting in the parking lot. One of the bullets hit Creamer, in the head. He died five days later.
According to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, Roberts declined to speak at his sentencing, but his lawyer and the pre-sentence investigation indicated he had shown remorse all along. Hennepin County District Court Judge William Koch noted that Roberts thought of Creamer as a “little brother.”
Nevertheless, Koch approved the plea agreement with a 21-year sentence, an upward departure from the sentencing guidelines, which recommend 16 years and three months.
Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Christina Warren told the court the stiffer sentence was to “recognize the intended victim and the risk to all the other people in the park that day.”
“When a young man wildly fires more than a half-dozen shots and leaves one person dead, we push for long prison terms,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said. “We were perfectly willing to go to trial unless we got the kind of sentence that justice demands. We have to make the consequences of using a gun so severe that people will think twice before using one.”
In addition to the longer sentence, Koch approved to the recommendations that Roberts undergo a chemical health evaluation, attend a cognitive skills program, enroll in a GED program and learn employment skills while in prison.
In a victim impact statement, Creamer’s mother called her son “funny, caring, athletic and handsome” and said his family will have “sorrow in our hearts” this holiday season. But she ended the letter saying she will pray for Roberts and that he should keep in contact with the family while in prison.
“We are moving forward, and we would like Mr. Roberts to be strong,” she wrote. “We know it was an accident and he didn’t mean to kill Terry.”